Ranebennur: BJP leaders LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj on Sunday launched the ruling party's campaign for the May 5 Karnataka assembly with a scathing attack on central government's corruption and promising "zero tolerance" against graft. Advani addressed public meetings in this north Karnataka town, about 350 km from Bangalore, and in Davangere in the central part of the state while Sushma Swaraj spoke at a rally in the state capital.
Both indirectly referred to corruption scandals that rocked the first three years of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state under then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and said the party has given scam-free administration in the last two years under his successors DV Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar. Advani told the Ranebennur rally that BJP policy was "zero tolerance against corruption in government and indiscipline in the party".
There was anxious time for nearly half-an-hour as Advani's chopper did not land near the venue as scheduled and kept circling. It landed around 20 km away as the pilot could not locate the helipad near the rally venue, police said.
In her address to the Bangalore rally, Sushma Swaraj asserted that the first BJP government in Karnataka did work for the welfare of the people though infighting and scandals hurt the party. She said Sadananda Gowda and Shettar done the party proud by their work as chief ministers.
Gowda was chief minister for less than a year from Aug 2011. Shettar succeeded him in July last year and is the party's chief ministerial candidate. Both Advani and Sushma Swaraj said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre was "the most corrupt government" they had seen. She said that the UPA had failed to curb terrorism and crime against women.