Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister, said that recent history has shown that a united Opposition can easily defeat the BJP and the coalition partners in the State would go on to win at least 20 of the 28 seats in Karnataka in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Interacting with mediapersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Siddaramaiah, who is also the chairman of the coalition government’s coordination committee, said that the series of victories in the various byelections in the State in the recent past were an indication of this and the same would be repeated in the coming elections.
He said the Congress won the Jamkhandi Assembly constituency in the byelection besides winning the Ballari Lok Sabha constituency while the JD(S) won the Ramanagar Assembly seat and the Mandya parliamentary seat.
Though the BJP retained Shivamogga, the margin of victory of the BJP has reduced drastically and this indicates that the BJP can be defeated in the forthcoming elections.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said the people have lost faith in the BJP’s ability to address common problems and hence Prime Minister Narendra Modi was content raising contentious and divisive issues instead of focusing on development works. “He does not refer to any of the development works and achievements during the last five years nor does he spell out a vision for the future of the country,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said, describing the BJP manifesto as ‘old wine in a new bottle’. Some of the issues mentioned in the BJP’s manifesto are as old as the party itself such as abrogating Article 370, 35 A, introduction of a common civil code, but the party never made any serious efforts to implement this and was using it for political gain, he added.
“Even the promise of building the Ram temple at Ayodhya was not new and Lok Pal was appointed only at the fag end of the five-year rule which is nothing more than a gimmick,” he said.
Stating that the BJP did not have any moral right to speak of corruption, Mr. Siddaramaiah said ‘chowkidar’ guarded the interest of the rich but not that of the farmers, Dalits, women, youth, etc., who were languishing owing to unemployment.
He added that the BJP’s economic policies were a blunder and demonetisation had had a negative impact on the economy and the country’s GDP growth rate. “Nearly 1.84 crore jobs were lost and unemployment was the highest in the last 40 years while 99.99% of the high denomination notes returned to the banking system,” he said.
Flaying the BJP leaders for politicising the surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan, Mr. Siddaramiah said the credit goes to the Indian soldiers. “We salute the Indian Army and the defence personnel for what they have done but it is not Narendra Modi’s army as being described by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath,” he said, lashing out at the BJP leadership for what he termed was ‘sycophancy’.
He said the BJP was misleading the country’s youth by emphasising on nationalism during elections and averred that the Congress which participated in the freedom struggle need not learn anything on patriotism from the BJP.