KARNATAKA

Congress blamed for regional imbalances

BANGALORE, APRIL 24. The BJP President, M. Venkaiah Naidu, has blamed the Congress Governments in the State for the backwardness of north Karnataka.

Speaking to presspersons here today, Mr. Naidu charged the State Government and the Congress with what he called the "politics of betrayal." The Congress was guilty of "misrule and corruption, and apathy towards the development of the State," particularly the northern region. It could not disown its responsibility for the backwardness of that region.

Mr. Naidu said the "new era represented by the BJP" stood for the politics of development. The party that had shown its "superior capabilities" at the Centre had now emerged as the "indisputable alternative" to the Congress in the State.

Appealing to the electorate to utilise the opportunity to usher in a new era in the State's politics, Mr. Naidu asked whether the State should continue with the old dispensation. It should discard the Congress and welcome the BJP. The choice was before the people.

The BJP leader said the Congress had ruled the State for the longest period since Independence. But the gap between its performance and the people's expectations had widened with each successive Government. The Congress had neglected infrastructure development, especially in the power sector. "Karnataka was once a power surplus State. But today it is facing an acute power shortage," he said.

Major cities such as Hubli-Dharwad and Bangalore were facing a drinking water shortage. The plight of the people in villages defied description. If there was any improvement in the conditions of highways and rural roads, it was because of the special projects launched by the Centre. "I would like the people of Karnataka to see the contrast between our successes in the road and telecom sectors and the failure of the Congress on the issues of electricity and water," he said.

The farmers of the State had been the worst hit by the misrule of the Congress Government. The BJP was committed to reversing the situation through special initiatives under the proposed "Second Green Revolution," he said.

Referring to the regional imbalances in the State, he said the Congress had failed to harness the unique strengths and resources of the different regions. As a result, a strong feeling of discrimination had crept in, which had to be addressed. The NDA Government had tried to address it by establishing a separate railway zone with its headquarters in Hubli. It would provide special targeted budgetary allocations for backward districts in the country, he said.

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