Former MLC and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee convener Prakash Rathod described Janata Dal (Secular) State General Secretary and party candidate for Bijapur Basanagouda Patil Yatnal as “a communal leader who is projecting himself as secular after joining the JD(S)”.

Addressing presspersons here on Friday, he said that it was Mr. Yatnal who was responsible for creating hatred among people of different religions in Bijapur when he was in the BJP.

“Have you [Mr. Yatnal] forgotten how you tried to stir up communal feelings in Bijapur when you were in BJP? Today, when you have been kicked out by the BJP, you pose as a secular leader after joining the JD(S),” he remarked.

Regarding the manifesto released by Mr. Yatnal on Saturday, Mr. Rathod questioned Mr. Yatnal’s achievements during his term as an MP and Union Minister, during the NDA regime. Mr. Yatnal has a history of never keeping his promises; joining the JD(S) has not changed that, Mr. Yatnal alleged, and urged people not to believe the JD(S) leader.

He also turned on the Bharatiya Janata Party government, and said they had not developed the backward Bijapur district. He said that the Congress has gained more strength after the visit of AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi to Bijapur and other parts of the State.

With regard to the Congress campaign in Bijapur for the May 5 polls, he said there was strong support base developing for Congress candidate M.S. Bagwan as people of all castes and communities were extending their support. “The Congress is working unitedly to ensure the victory of all Congress candidates in Bijapur district,” he said.