BANGALORE: With Karnataka assembly elections nearing, the war of words between political leaders is getting more intense with every rally and every press meet. While top BJP leaders like Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath (CM of Uttar Pradesh) are making rounds of the state with aggressive speeches criticizing the Congress rule and CM Siddaramaiah, the Congress is also retaliating equally strongly.
The CM himself called Yogi a ‘jungle raj’ Chief Minister, while Yogi dared him to ban cow slaughter in Karnataka.
The ruling Congress shared a one minute long video of Yogi Adityanath on Twitter with a caption that read ‘Here’s a recipe for a BJP star campaigner. We don’t recommend it.’ The Congress stated that Yogi’s ‘Recipe for disaster is coming soon to Karnataka.’ The tweet about Yogi, that referred to cases against him and no attention to development in his state, read ‘One kg of criminal record dipped in one litre of saffron dye, shedding half a cup of ‘crocodile’ tears, a cup of homophobia and two tablespoon of misogyny, no attention to development and simmer it on a communal flame and later bring it to a boil. At last, garnish it with ignorance and serve it with hate in Karnataka.’
The bitter Twitter battle between Siddaramaiah and his Uttar Pradesh counterpart has gone viral in the past few days and has not got noticed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi too, who is very active on social media himself. He praised Yogi Adityanath calling the feud between the latter and Siddaramaiah ‘twitter-twitter ka khel’. His tweet in Hindi said ‘Yogi Ji bhi kam khiladi nahin hain. Kayi rajyon mein bahut logon ke saath hamare Yogi Ji twitter-twitter ka khel khel rhe hain. Aur twitter ke khel mein bhi acche acche khiladiyon ko unhone parast karke rakh diya hai.’
While Siddaramaiah suggested that Yogi must visit an Indira Canteen to understand how to solve the starvation issue in his home state, Yogi responded by tweeting that Karnataka accounted for a large number of farmer deaths. He also challenged Siddaramaiah’s Hindu credentials asking him to ban cow slaughter and the latter asked. I have reared cows, grazed them and even cleaned the dung. Has Yogi Adityanath done all these?’ While BJP is emphasizing on its Hindutva and development agenda, Congress is projecting itself as pro-poor and pro-backward caste. However, such caste and religion based polarization may not be achievable in a state like Karnataka.
The BJP has also said that it will launch a ‘jail bharo’ campaign, protesting Siddaramaiah’s remarks against BJP and RSS accusing them of ‘harboring extremists’, and party activists will get voluntarily arrested Friday onwards. The party will also file a case of criminal defamation against Siddaramaiah. In a press conference held on Thursday in Bangalore, BJP State General Secretary Shobha Karandjale said ‘We appeal to Mr Siddaramaiah and Mr Dinesh Gundu Rao [working president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee] to arrest and put us in jail as they think we are all terrorists. According to them, we need to be in jail, and hence, we are launching ‘jail bharo’ program.’