Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka to campaign for the assembly polls
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Congress chief tears into Modi government over policies like GST and note ban; says PM chose not to highlight relevant issues in Parliament.

Bengaluru: Launching his party’s campaign for the Karnataka assembly polls, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Saturday that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah “drives in Karnataka looking forward unlike Modi who keeps looking at the rear-view mirror”.

He also asked Modi to follow Siddaramaiah’s style of governance.

Rahul kicked off his party’s ‘Jan Ashirvaad Yatra’ in Hospet in Ballari, infamous for the mining scam during the BJP rule in the state.

Rahul Gandhi in Karnataka

“Modiji, please learn from Siddaramaiah. He looks ahead. Doesn’t look for excuses, waives farm loans, gives canteens in cities and the oppressed are helped,” Rahul said amid a huge round of applause.

“When Siddaramaiah runs the Karnataka vehicle, he looks ahead. When there is some vehicle in the path he can see it,” the Congress chief added.

Again calling GST ‘Gabbar Singh tax’, Rahul claimed that small traders are the worst hit due to the introduction of this tax.

“When you look at the rear-view mirror and drive, you give Gabbar Singh tax. You have made people suffer losses running into crores; you have destroyed small traders,” Rahul said.

He also lambasted the BJP government over demonetisation.

Referring to Modi’s recent speech in Parliament wherein he attacked the Nehru-Gandhi family, Rahul said Modi chose not to speak about issues like unemployment, farmers’ problem as well as atrocities on Dalits.

“For one hour, he spoke about Congress and its past. The country does not want to hear about the past from the PM but about the future,” Rahul added.

The Congress party is confident that Gandhi’s campaign will be a game changer.

“We have delivered what we promised to the people of this region and this is a stronghold of the Congress,” Dinesh Gundurao, working president of Karantaka Congress, told ThePrint.

“Taking a cue from Gujarat, he is continuing road shows and rallies so that he can get a first-hand account of how we as a Congress government have performed,” he added.

CM Siddaramaiah, who accompanied Rahul on the Yatra, said that Ballari has an emotional connect with Congress because Sonia Gandhi won from this seat in the 1999 Lok Sabha election.

Rahul Gandhi and Karantaka CM Siddaramaiah in Ballari, Karnataka

“Sonia Gandhi won from the Congress stronghold of Ballari. She has an emotional connect to this place, so does Rahul,” the CM said.

“BJP can’t win even one seat…BJP is a communal party, a party that lacks humanity,” he added.

Political observers, however, have a different take.

“In all the campaigns that the Congress has done, it is Siddaramaiah’s face that has been presented,” said political analyst Madan Mohan.

“We can deduce that this trip by Rahul is an attempt to make his face familiar to the people of Karnataka,” he added.

Taking a pot-shot at Rahul’s temple visit ahead of the rally, the BJP said it’s nothing but a meek attempt to diminish the impact of BJP’s Parivartan Yatra.

“The Congress has brought in Rahul just to continue the temple visit the party had started in Gujarat. What are they going to achieve from it,” asked Malavika Avinash, Karnataka BJP spokesperson.

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