The State BJP leaders are organising extensive tours of the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, as they cannot go before the people on their own, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said here on Saturday.

He was speaking at the Bharat Nirman Rally organised at the C.P. Ed. grounds where All-India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi was the chief speaker.

“After having looted the State for five years, the BJP has lost face with the people. A BJP Chief Minister was sent to jail and now he is out on bail. While a few [leaders of the party] are still in jail, some others are out on bail. That’s why they have now brought [Mr.] Modi to woo the electorate,” he said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said Mr. Modi was under the impression that he had become the Prime Minister. “People will decide whether or not the BJP leader accused of genocide is eligible to become the Prime Minister,” he said.

Criticising BJP leaders for allegedly trying to divide society, he said it was the Congress that takes all communities together with it. He said the BJP was always against giving reservation to the downtrodden communities and party leaders had proved it by their actions on several occasions.

He expressed confidence that Mr. Gandhi would become the next Prime Minister and appealed to the gathering to elect Congress candidates from the two Lok Sabha constituencies in the district — Belgaum and Chikkodi.

Elaborating on the decisions taken by his government for the welfare of the poor and the downtrodden during the first nine months, the Chief Minister listed out schemes and some of the budgetary allocations.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara, who welcomed the dignitaries, said the previous BJP government had the credit of taking Karnataka from no. 1 position to 17th place in terms of development.

Ministers H.K. Patil, Prakash Hukkeri, Satish Jarkiholi, R.V. Deshpande and Umashree, and MLA Feroz Sait addressed the gathering.

Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, AICC secretary Shantaram Naik, president of the district unit of the Congress Laxmi Hebbalkar and the party’s city unit president Asif (Raju) Sait were among those present.

A large number of people had come for the rally. The Belgaum police had imposed traffic diversion on a few routes and made parking arrangements for vehicles bringing people for the rally. As the crowd was big at the C.P. Ed. grounds, vehicular movement was affected for some time.

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