Bengaluru: The campaign for the October 30 bypolls to Sindagi and Hanagal Assembly constituencies in Karnataka is witnessing unprecedented personal attacks by leaders cutting across party lines.
Former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah and state BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel have all been making stinging comments against each other while campaigning.
After Kumaraswamy’s recent scathing attack on the RSS, BJP leader Nalin Kumar Kateel had asked him to “visit the RSS units so that his illusions regarding the organisation may disappear”.
Reacting to this, Kumaraswamy said that he should visit “the RSS unit to watch blue (porn) films”. Kumaraswamy made the remark in view of the alleged sex CD scandal involving BJP’s former minister Ramesh Jarakiholi. Kumaraswamy was also referring to some BJP ministers obtaining stay orders from the court on the media broadcasting their private videos.
After this, the BJP ridiculed Kumaraswamy with a personal jibe. The party said he (Kumaraswamy) should be “careful with bigamy and breach of trust” as they are considered as offences by the law. Kumaraswamy, who is always in the forefront to mock others’ mistakes, should be careful about these things, a social media message read.
The BJP also ridiculed Kumaraswamy’s comment that his life was an open book. “We congratulate for his courage. He must know that an open book is as dangerous as an open well,” a BJP tweet said.
Kumaraswamy reacted by saying that he was not disturbed by the personal attacks. “Mistakes do happen in one’s life” and he had rectified his mistake, the formetr Chief Minister said. He also warned that he could target all the BJP leaders at a personal level.
Kateel claimed that media reports suggested that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi “was a drug addict and drug peddler”. Though former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa condemned the statement and asked him not to issue such statements, BJP General Secretary Ashwath Narayan held a press conference and defended Kateel’s statement.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesperson M. Lakshman stirred up another controversy by alleging that Kateel was “involved with a married woman and blackmailed her husband”.
In the latest attack, the BJP told state Congress President D.K. Shivakumar not to strain himself by asking too many questions. “How much black money have you minted? What is the background of your arrest and your trip to Tihar jail,” it asked.
Siddaramaiah also called Kateel a ‘mental’ case for his remarks. He along with Shivakumar alleged that the BJP is distributing Rs 2,000 per vote. Reacting to this, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that “both have experience in distributing money and are only sharing their experiences”.
Meanwhile, Hanagal in Haveri district and Sindhagi in Vijayapura district witnessed high voltage campaign activity with former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy, Yediyurappa, Bommai and Shivakumar campaigning for their respective party candidates.
The results of the October 30 bylolls are crucial for Bommai, as they are being held in the heartland of north Karnataka, which has a prominent Lingayat vote base.
Kumaraswamy wants to retain the Sindhagi constituency as it was earlier won by JD(S) candidate M.C. Managuli. However, the Congress managed to put M.C. Managuli’s son Ashok Managuli as its candidate from Sindhagi.
The JD(S) has given tickets to the minority candidates in both constituencies. The Congress has alleged that the JD(S) is helping the BJP to win by fielding minority candidates.