Tuesday, September 26, 2023

PM and BJP leaders speak about Basavanna, but don’t follow his teachings: Rahul Gandhi


Vijayapura (Karnataka): Invoking 12th century social reformer Basavanna on his birth anniversary, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ruling BJP leaders only spoke about the Lingayat philosopher in their speeches but didn’t follow his teachings.

Calling the BJP government in Karnataka the “most corrupt in the country”, he declared that Congress would win 150 seats in Karnataka out of the total 224 in the May 10 Assembly polls, while the “40 per cent BJP government” would get only 40 seats. He was referring to complaints from contractors that the BJP government in the state sought had allegedly sought 40 per cent commission from them for government contracts.

“Basavanna had said don’t fear, speak out truth. If we see today, there is BJP and RSS’ ideology which is creating an atmosphere of hatred and violence in the country. Prime Minister and BJP leaders speak about Basavanna, but don’t follow his teachings,” Gandhi said.

Addressing a public meeting here, he said Basavanna had spoken about helping the weaker sections of society, he did not say “help the billionaires”.

“I have read about Basavanna’s teachings. He has nowhere written that ‘get the country’s wealth to Adani’. I spoke in Parliament house, I asked the Prime Minister as to what was his relationship with Adani? ‘The country’s entire wealth, ports and airports are being given to Adani; what’s your relationship?’,” he said.

Claiming that his microphone was first switched off in Parliament for asking those questions, Gandhi said his speech was then removed from Parliament records, and at the end he himself was removed from the Lok Sabha.

“They think that the truth can only be spoken in Lok Sabha, but it can be spoken anywhere, even here,” he said.

AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal, Karnataka Congress campaign committee chief M B Patil and KPCC working president Satish Jarkiholi, were among those present.

Gandhi was speaking after holding a massive road show from Shivaji Circle to Kanakadasa Circle, amid the sound of drum beats, in which large crowds of people took part.

Gandhi, earlier Sunday began his two-day visit to poll-bound Karnataka from Kudala Sangama, where he offered obeisance to Basaveshwara, also known as Basavanna, on his birth anniversary, celebrated as Basava Jayanti. Basavanna is the founder of the Lingayat sect.

This visit of Gandhi is seen as an attempt by the Congress to bolster Lingayat outreach ahead of the May 10 Assembly polls. Lingayats are a dominant community constituting about 17 per cent of the State’s population, largely seen as the ruling BJP’s vote bank.



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