Congress leader Siddaramaiah declared here on Sunday that the contest would be between money power and people’s power in the Assembly elections in the State.

Saying that the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Karnataka Janata Party represented money power, Mr. Siddaramaiah, who is also Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, said the Congress represented people’s power and exuded confidence that his party would get a mandate this time.

He was speaking at the Congress’ election campaign launch meeting at the Government Pre-university College ground here.

Natural resources had been plundered and corruption was rampant during the BJP rule, he charged.

The administrative machinery in the State had collapsed due to the bickering in the BJP, the senior Congress leader said.

‘Leadership weak’

The BJP leadership did not have the guts to initiate disciplinary action against Ministers and legislators who had identified with KJP, formed by the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, he said.

While exuding confidence about the Congress returning to power, Mr. Siddaramaiah, however, cautioned party functionaries not to be slack but work hard to achieve the objective of bringing the party back to power.

Special courts

Referring to the report submitted by the then Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde on mining in the State, Mr. Siddaramaiah said if the Congress formed the government, it would set up special courts to try the cases and initiate steps to recover money from people who had looted the mineral wealth.

Priority for irrigation

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara said if the party got the mandate it would accord priority for irrigation projects.

Only the Congress could provide a stable and corruption-free government, he claimed.

Union Minister for Labour and Employment M. Mallikarjun Kharge said: “In Karnataka, corruption and misrule have become the norm under the BJP regime”.

Party leaders D.K. Shivakumar, B.K. Hariprasad, Rani Satish and D.K. Taradevi, and Union Minister K. Rahman Khan, spoke.

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