Fitting reply to divisive politics: Modi

Questions Congress campaign targeting the BJP as a ‘north Indian, Hindi-speaking party’

Updated - December 01, 2021 06:15 am IST

Published - May 15, 2018 09:34 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated by BJP president, Amit Shah and other party leaders in New Delhi on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being felicitated by BJP president, Amit Shah and other party leaders in New Delhi on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed thanks to the people of Karnataka for not just making the BJP the single largest party in the State, but also breaking the perception “spread by the Congress party” that the BJP was somehow a north Indian, Hindi-speaking party, with no hold in the south. It was a direct reference to the Congress’ campaign that ran on a strong pitch of regional pride.

Mr. Modi also launched a fierce attack on the Trinamool Congress-led government in West Bengal over the violence during the Panchayat polls in the State. “It is a murder of democracy, what happened during the panchayat polls. I feel that all those who value democracy, political parties, civil society groups, and even the judiciary should come together to end this travesty,” he said.

Click here to see the results in each district

Speaking at the party headquarters in New Delhi, after the results of the poll left the BJP seven seats shy of the magic number in the Karnataka Assembly, Mr. Modi also made a special mention that his joy at the party’s performance was not unalloyed as a flyover collapse in Varanasi had left several dead and many injured.

Flyover collapse

“My joy at the victory in Karnataka is tempered by a sense of loss as the flyover collapse in Varanasi, my Lok Sabha constituency, has left so many people dead and many injured. I have spoken to the Chief Minister [Yogi Adityanath] and all possible help is being extended,” he said.

Speaking more on the north vs south campaign, Mr. Modi said that “the people of Karnataka have given a fitting response to parties that seek to divide us on these lines.”

“I have visited many States in the course of my work for the party, and in some States I have felt inhibited by my lack of felicity in the particular language spoken there. But this was not so in Karnataka, where the people gave me so much love that I never felt we did not communicate. In these elections too, while addressing rallies even in remote areas, people urged me to speak in the language that I knew and were enthusiastic in their support even in 40-45 degrees Celsius heat,” he said.

“It astounds me that a party, like the Congress, which has been at the helm of affairs for much of our post-independent history, could raise such divisive issues for just an election, and undermine our federal structure, bring up the north vs south divide, Centre vs State,” he said.

Mr. Modi had special words of praise for party president Amit Shah, who he said had created a “record of sorts” with the hard work that he had put in, both physical and mental during the course of the campaign.

The BJP head quarters witnessed a see saw of moods, with partymen celebrating what looked like a simple majority in the morning, but then a subdued ambience when the tally got stuck at a 104 seats. Party leaders met with BJP president Amit Shah in the afternoon, after which Union ministers J P Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar were despatched to Bengaluru to explore possibilities of government formation. A meeting of the parliamentary board was held in the evening with seniors going over the results.

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