Staff Correspondent

‘Many allies of the UPA have deserted the coalition’

The Congress has lost grounds in the Hindi

heart-land: Ananth Kumar

UPA government is said to have failed to tackle inflation, unemployment

MANGALORE: H.N. Ananth Kumar, general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said here on Sunday that the Congress was a sinking ship.

He told the presspersons here that many allies of the Congress in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, including Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, Samajwadi Party, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) had deserted the coalition. This indicated that the UPA was collapsing, he said.

Out of the 134 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, the Congress was contesting for only 10. This meant that the Congress had lost its ground in the Hindi heart-land. “With this situation, how can the Congress hope to return to power?” he asked.

Mr. Ananth Kumar charged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with backtracking after accepting a challenge by L.K. Advani, senior BJP leader, to come for “an open debated on national television channel” on democratic challenges facing the country. Democracy meant dialogue. Mr. Singh should come for an open debate on issues related to defence, agriculture, economy, and administration of the country. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi should also come for a debate on these issues, he said.

The Prime Minister was being controlled by the chairperson of the UPA, he added.

“The Congress is in a crisis, the Janata Dal (Secular) is in constriction, and the BJP is the only integrated party,” he said.

To a question about former MLA K. Rama Bhat’s plan to contest as independent candidate in the Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency, Mr. Kumar said it was an irrelevant issue.

‘NDA has a vision’

Our Udupi Staff Correspondent reports: H.N. Ananth Kumar, general secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said on Sunday that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had failed to deliver good governance to the country.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of the BJP’s election campaign for the Udupi-Chikmagalur parliamentary seat here.

Mr. Kumar said the UPA government had failed to tackle inflation, unemployment, terrorism, and agrarian crisis. “National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, led by the BJP, has a vision to solve these problems. The achievements of the UPA government pale into insignificance when compared to those of the previous NDA government,” he said.

Nothing illustrated the disarray in the Congress than its inability to find a candidate for the Udupi-Chikmagalur parliamentary seat. Former Chief Minister M. Verappa Moily hailed from Karkala. Yet, he was not interested in contesting from the Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency. Karkala Assembly segment was part of this constituency, he added.

Mr. Kumar said that under Mr. Sadananda Gowda as president of the State unit, the BJP had formed a coalition government with the Janata Dal (Secular) as a partner in the State. It was again under him that the BJP came to power on its own in the State. “The B.S. Yeddyurappa government has achieved a lot in the last 10 months. Mr. Sadananda Gowda will win comfortably from here,” he said.

Home Minister V.S. Acharya, BJP leaders Lalaji Mendon, Ganesh Karnik, A.G. Kodgi, and Sunil Kumar, film actors Saikumar and Shruti, were present.