Congress to appeal to EC to announce Karnataka Assembly polls immediately

We want the EC to enforce the MCC without further delay to stop the rampant corruption and violation of several rules by the BJP, said Siddaramaiah, Leader of Opposition

March 04, 2023 01:16 pm | Updated March 23, 2023 04:29 pm IST

Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah.

Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah. | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

Congress will appeal to the Election commission of India to announce the Karnataka Assembly polls and implement the Model Code of Conduct immediately.

“We want the ECI to enforce the MCC without further delay to stop the rampant corruption and violation of several rules by the ruling BJP,” Siddaramaiah, Leader of Opposition said in Belagavi on Friday.

“The State government is wasting people’s tax money on organising events by the Prime Minister, Home Minister, and senior leaders like Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. It is spending crores of rupees to give media advertisements to gain publicity. Ministers are awarding contractors in various departments after taking huge bribes. Some candidates and aspirants are distributing money and freebies to people. MCC is the only way to stop all such irregularities,” he said.

Also read: Analysis | Why the Karnataka Assembly polls are crucial for BJP’s fate in Telangana 

“Very soon we will take a delegation to ECI seeking early announcement of polls,” he said.

“I have already said that if the Congress came to power, it will cancel all recent contracts and tenders. I am also hereby warning contractors not to pay bribes to get contracts, as they will lose the money and the contract if it is found that it has been awarded on corrupt grounds,” he said.

“The government has issued orders making it mandatory for school children, ASHA and Anganwadi workers to attend the PM’s rallies. It is also paying money to voters to attend them. I saw a viral video in which two persons are fighting over the rally organisers promising ₹1000 per attendee, but ending up ₹500. This is what I commented on, but it has been misused by the BJP by twisting my statement,” he said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the BJP was appropriating the credit for the work done by the Congress. “The Congress government, for example, passed a law to convert tandas and hamlets into revenue villages. We constituted the Narasimhaiah committee and then Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa passed a law and implemented it. We gave the rights of land to residents of these tandas and hamlets. Just as Devraj Urs gave ownership rights of farm land to tillers, we gave rights to residents. But the BJP is claiming credit for it. It has spent crores to hand over land right documents in Sedam,” he said.

While the Congress government built 14. 54 lakh houses in five years, the BJP has not sanctioned a single new house. We asked them to share copies of orders sanctioning houses in the last four years, but they did not. While we fulfilled 158 of the 165 promises made in the Congress manifesto, but the BJP has not even fulfilled 10% of the 600 promises they made in their manifesto. Anyone can verify our manifestos and confirm this, he said.

He said the Congress would fight against the corrupt practices of BJP ministers, chairpersons of corporations and legislators. We are demanding action against Madal Virupakshappa, MLA and KSDL chairman, as his son Prashant Madal, a government servant, has been caught red handed while accepting bribes. Crores of rupees have been recovered from his house. The MLA is responsible for this corrupt practice as per the principle of vicarious liability, he said.

He denied PM Narendra Modi’s allegation that the Congress had insulted senior leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge. “On the contrary, it is the BJP that has insulted its senior leaders. Mr. Modi has insulted L.K. Advani who provided him a lease of life after Godhra, when then PM A.B. Vajpayee wanted to remove Mr. Modi from the chief Ministership of Gujarat,” he said.

“Mr Modi is going around saying Congressmen were chanting ‘death to Modi’. It is an outright lie. If there were some people who were saying such things, why does the PM not use the intelligence agencies and other security agencies to identify them and take action against them? If he is not acting, it means his allegations are false,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Reacting to allegations by CM Basavaraj Bommai that Siddaramaiah had shut down the Lokayukta, and started the Anti corruption bureau, only to shield the corrupt.

“First of all, we did not shut down the Lokayukta. We started the ACB after a former Lokayukta’s son began misusing his father’s office to collect bribes. While Lokayukta was based on the Lokayukta Act, the ACB was based on the prevention of corruption Act. The two entities are distinct. Even today, the two bodies co-exist in 16 States, including states like Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, he said. Anyway, the BJP should not talk about ACB as they did not close it by their own volition, but had to do so after a High Court judgement,” he said.

To a query, he said that Congress had a few aspirants for the post of the Chief Minister. I am an aspirant. D.K. Shivakumar is another aspirant. There is nothing wrong in being an aspirant. Finally, the party leadership and the legislators will select the CM. That is the standard method, he said.

To a query on whether the Congress was playing caste vote bank politics, he said the Congress was utilising inclusive politics while the BJP was practising caste politics.

He said he was confident that the Congress would come to power in Karnataka as the “people were upset with the maladministration and corrupt ways of the BJP.”

I can see that in the response to our rallies. Thousands of people, youth and women are attending our rallies. But unlike the BJP, our crowds are not a captive audience. I have a strong feeling that the BJP will be routed. There is not just a wind in our favour, but a storm, he said.

To a query on choosing the party candidate for Ramdurg, he said the party would select candidates with higher chances of winning after consulting local leaders at the block, district and State level and the reports from observers. He denied that the Congress was trying to violate protocol in the unveiling of the Chatrapati Shivaji statue at Rajhas gad. “In fact, it is the BJP that violated protocol by not formally inviting Lakshmi Hebbalkar, local MLA, who has to chair the event, as per rules,” he said.

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