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Kejriwal taps into ‘40% commission’ charge on Bommai govt as he steers AAP push in Karnataka

At Arvind Kejriwal's Basavanagudi rally Thursday, his first in the state since Punjab win, the president of Karnataka's largest farmers' union officially joined the AAP.

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Bengaluru: The AAP, in search of a poll plank in Karnataka, is relying on charges of corruption levelled against the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP administration, which has been labelled a “40 per cent commission government” by the Opposition and the state contractors’ association.

“The previous government in Karnataka was a 20 per cent government. Today’s government is a 40 per cent government but our AAP government in Delhi is a 0 per cent government,” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said Thursday while addressing a farmers’ rally during his first visit to Karnataka since his party’s thumping victory in Punjab last month.

“Nobody in our government takes a single rupee as bribe. Wouldn’t you want the same for Karnataka?” Kejriwal, who is the national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), asked thousands of farmers and AAP workers gathered on National College grounds in Basavanagudi.

Karnataka is set to go to the polls in 2023. But this is not the first time the AAP is hopeful about its electoral prospects in the state. Apart from the 2018 assembly polls, the party also fielded candidates in Karnataka in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but without success.

AAP candidates, however, have managed to win seats in some local bodies in the state over the last two years.

During Kejriwal’s rally, the president of the state’s largest farmers’ union officially joined the AAP, a move being seen as a shot in the arm for the party’s Karnataka unit.

Kodihalli Chandrashekar, president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS), urged farmers to vote for the AAP and elect it as an alternative to the BJP, the Congress and the JD(S) in Karnataka.

“Under the Congress government and Gundu Rao’s chief ministership, farmers were shot dead for protesting in Karnataka. Under Narendra Modi’s prime ministership, farmers are being killed not by bullets but by adverse laws and policies,” said Chandrashekar, who led delegations of farmers from Karnataka to the protest against farm laws on Delhi’s borders.

“We, as farmers, can neither endorse a party that killed farmers with bullets nor a party that is killing farmers by ignoring their plight. Children of farmers should contest polls. Members of KRRS will work 24/7 to bring AAP to power in Karnataka,” he added.

Chandrashekar joins the AAP’s Karnataka unit less than a month after retired IPS officer Bhaskar Rao.

Also Read: ‘Let Muslims live peacefully’ — Yediyurappa calls for end to communal tensions in Karnataka

Kejriwal’s attack on BJP

Arvind Kejriwal Thursday promised to emulate the “Delhi model of free education, electricity, healthcare and bus travel for women” in Karnataka, accusing the BJP of fomenting discord in the country.

“In Lakhimpur Kheri, ‘their’ son crushed farmers to death. He should be strictly punished. Instead, everyone from the Union government to the state government protected him,” Kejriwal said in a potshot at Union minister Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish is an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case.

Referring to the March protest by the BJP youth wing at his official residence in Delhi, which was marked by alleged violence and vandalism, the AAP chief added, “Their goons forcefully entered my house. I am Delhi’s Chief Minister and yet they breached security and entered my home when my elderly parents were there. These goons were not punished but were welcomed into the party.

“Which party do these goons belong to? They are disrupting peace across the country. You know who they are. If you want hate, then vote for them. If you want schools, then vote for me. If you want rowdyism, vote for them, but if you want hospitals, vote for me,” he said.

While he did not take any names, Arvind Kejriwal drew parallels between the actions of Ravana and that of the Union government.

“We all know what happened to Ravana. Similarly, the Union government, too, showed arrogance and brought in the black laws but they didn’t think they needed farmers. They didn’t listen. But farmers broke their arrogance after 13 months of protest,” Kejriwal said.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

Also Read: Karnataka, you’ve got a problem: Why BJP’s divisive politics can ruin Bengaluru’s unicorn party


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