By Anand Singh
Bengaluru, May 8 (IANS): The campaigning for the May 10 Karnataka Assembly polls that ended on Monday has witnessed former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi not mincing any words to target the BJP government at the Centre over the Adani issue, besides raising the "issues of corruption under the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government" in the poll-bound state.
The issue around Adani Group gained momentum earlier this year in January when US-based short seller Hindenburg alleged stock manipulation and fraud by the conglomerate.
The Adani Group has attacked Hindenburg as "an unethical short seller" and stated that the report by the New York-based entity was "nothing but a lie".
Rahul Gandhi, who kicked off his campaign trail from Karnataka's Kolar on April 16, first raised the issue of the Adani Group in his public meeting.
Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from Lok Sabha for his Modi surname remarks he made in Kolar in April 2019 during the Lok Sabha elections campaigning.
He was disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP on March 23 this year following his conviction in a defamation case by a Surat court.
Rahul Gandhi raised issues around the Adani Group during his public meetings in Kolar, Humnabad, Vijaypura, Hanjal, Anekal and Mangaluru, besides other issues.
In his speech, Rahul Gandhi said: "They (BJP) do not want me to talk in Parliament. They are afraid that I will raise questions on Adani. They disqualified me from Parliament thinking that I would remain silent and I would be scared. I am not scared. I will again ask the Prime Minister."
He had said: "Till I get answers, I will not stop. Disqualify me or put me in jail. It will not affect me."
"In Parliament, I questioned the Prime Minister about his relationship with Adani. First, they switched off my mike and later BJP ministers told lies about me. When I sought to respond as per the right of a member, the Speaker did not allow me. They do not want me to speak in Parliament and hence disqualified me," Rahul Gandhi had said in his speech in Kolar.
Rahul Gandhi, who addressed 23 public meetings and road shows in poll-bound Karnataka, also highlighted the alleged corruption rampant under the ruling BJP government in the state.
In his every public meeting in the state, he targeted the BJP government over the alleged '40 per cent commission' issue.
While addressing a public meeting in Karnataka's Anekal on May 7, Rahul Gandhi targeted the BJP and said: "For the last three years, there is a BJP government in Karnataka and the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is aware of corruption here. You only call it a 'double engine government'. This time, the double engine is stolen."
"PM Modi, please tell the people of Karnataka, which engine got how much out of 40 per cent commission," he asked the Prime Minister while addressing a public meeting in Anekal on May 7.
He said that the contractors' association in Karnataka wrote to the Prime Minister that 40 per cent commission was charged from them but Modi did not reply.
The Congress in Karnataka had designed its campaigning highlighting the corruption in the state government and also launched the PayCM campaign in the run-up to assembly polls.
Rahul Gandhi also highlighted the four promises, which are declared as guarantees for the people of Karnataka, which include -- Gruha Jyothi (200 units of free electricity), Gruha Lakshmi-Rs 2,000 monthly to every woman head of the family, Anna Bhagya-10 kg of food grains of their choice (among rice, ragi, jowar, millet) to every person in a BPL family.
Rahul Gandhi also announced to provide free travel to all women in regular Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses.
Even his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too held 26 public meetings and road shows in the state, while Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge addressed 36 public meetings and four press conferences in the poll-bound state.
Kharge, who also hails from Karnataka, has camped in the poll-bound state since April 16 to ensure the victory of the party.
Karnataka Congress in-charge and party general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala had also been camping in the state for last two and half months and had succeeded in keeping the Congress flock together.
Even former Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed a public meeting in Hubballi on May 6, her first electoral public meeting after a gap of four years.
Polling for the 224-member Assembly is scheduled on May 10 and counting of votes will take place on May 13.