Hubli: "Development has taken a backseat in Karnataka due to bad governance and corruption," said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attacking the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday. He was speaking at a public rally in Hubli. Karnataka will go to polls on May 5 and results will be declared on May 8.
"...bad governance, carelessness in development works and above all corruption has led to the slackening of progress in Karnataka", he said in this northern part of the state, where the BJP draws much of its strength. Singh also alleged there was "a lack of communal harmony" in Karnataka. "A sense of insecurity prevails among minorities in Karnataka," added the PM.
Singh said attention was neither being paid to agriculture nor employment. A number of irrigation works are incomplete and even the works taken up under accelerated irrigation development programme were unsatisfactory. Also, no attention has been paid to infrastructure, resulting in a number of industries going to Hyderabad and Pune. "...I am particularly unhappy about the lack of development, especially in minority pockets like Raichur, Bellary, Gulbarga and Bidar...Lack of communal harmony and sense of insecurity among the minorities is prevalent," said the PM.
He will address another public rally in Karnataka on Monday. After Hubli, he will fly down to rural Bangalore to speak at a public meeting.
With just a week to go before the state goes to polls, campaigning in Karnataka is picking up steam. On Sunday, Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP leader Narendra Modi addressed a public rally in Bangalore and left no stone unturned in wooing the voters.
Modi, in his trademark flamboyant oratory, asked the Congress why it had failed to declare its Chief Minister candidate for the state so far. "All BJP leaders are asking Congress to announce their CM candidate in Karnataka. A 'hand' without a face does not give a clear picture of the person," he said, in a clear reference to the Congress's party symbol, the hand.
The Gujarat Chief Minister added that the country has never seen "such a weak" Central government, criticising UPA's handling of the Sarabjit Singh episode and Chinese incursions.
Modi exhorted the voters to throw the Congress out, making an example of the poor safety measures for women in Delhi. "Can anyone repeat the mistake of giving Congress a chance in Karnataka? Congress government is in Delhi. Do you feel safe in Delhi? Can you trust the government of Delhi? If they can not properly rule a place like Delhi, how do you expect them to rule a state as big as Karnataka?" he asked.
Accusing the ruling BJP of not utilising the funds sanctioned under many of the central schemes, Singh said the state had not met its targets in several programmes including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and mid-day meals or rural road development. "...If the Congress comes to power in Karnataka, the state will be able to utilise the funds sanctioned under central schemes to the maximum..", he said, assuring the people that his party would make Karnataka "a forerunner in development by providing a corruption-free government."
Only the Congress can work speedily for the development and prosperity of the state, which in many ways had a "unique place" compared to others, he said. Singh said across the world when people talk about Information Technology, people talk of Bangalore. In the past two decades, Karnataka has made a place for itself in the
international arena mainly because of the contribution made by its scientists and engineers.
The UPA government had initiated economic reforms and Karnataka was able to take advantage of them to the maximum which in turn helped its development, specially in IT. Talking about UPA government, he said its focus has been on inclusive growth. "...we have taken all sections of people together."
The government had paid particular attention to backward classes, minorities and women in its policies. He said when different party governments, other than Congress's, had been formed in Karnataka, development had slackened.
(With additional information from PTI)