GADAG: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday stoked a major controversy when he likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a poisonous snake. However, some time later, he quickly changed tack and said he was only referring to the BJP and the PM.
Addressing an election rally at Naregal in Gajendragarh, he said Modi is on one side while the entire opposition is on the other side. “He claims he alone is enough to take on the Opposition. Yes, he alone is enough to destroy the country, why does that need 10 people, because of their philosophy?”
He further said, “Don’t be mistaken, Modi is like a poisonous snake. If you casually try to lick it, you will die. If you try to lick it thinking that Modi is a good man, he’s the Prime Minister, you will collapse. We are Kannadigas, we don’t bow before anyone. Let anyone come from Gujarat or Ahmedabad, we are Kannadigas and we will maintain our self-respect.
Reiteritaing the Congress’ promises, Kharge said from the day the party government comes to power, 200 units of free power, Rs 2,000 per month for the women heads of households adn Rs 3,000 for unemployed graduates will be provided.
Hours later, however, Kharge did a U-turn on his remark at a party worker’s house in Ron where he arrived to address another rally. “I did not say Modi, I meant the BJP is like a poisonous snake. I do not make personal attacks and I have nothing personal against him. The BJP’s ideology is poisonous and if people support it, death is certain”, he defended himself.
Reacting to Kharge’s statements in Haveri district, where he is on campaign, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a nightmare for anti-nationals, terrorists and those who disturb peace. “I don’t know why Kharge feels so, but because of such talk, the Congress is where it is today. Their arrogance hasn’t come down. Karnataka is a land of culture and respecting all is our culture”.
In Bengaluru, Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje said Kharge’s comments are an insult to Karnataka. “Kharge and the Congress party should immediately apologise and the people of the state will teach the Congress a lesson. This was not expected from such a senior leader. But for the sake of vote bank politics and for the applause from the people in front of them. The Congress is not able to muster crowds even if Kharge addresses rallies, to they are doing this for the sake of headlines”, she said.