Moily uses Imran Khan's 'better chance of peace' remark to target Modi in Chikkaballapur - Times of India


Chikkaballapur: There are no clear favourites this time in the high-profile constituency of Chikkaballpur that has sent former Karnataka chief minister Veerappa Moily to Parliament twice and has never disappointed the Congress barring once during the Janata Party regime, keeping Moily and his BJP rival Bache Gowda on the edge.

Predominantly a backward and an agrarian constituency -- 58km from state capital Bengaluru -- Chikkaballapur has gone into an election mode by bringing in national issues in favour and against Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the centre stage.

While local leaders slug it out to prove credentials of Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi, farmers are facing a drought-like situation for the 14th year in a row.

Seeing politicians indifferent to their needs, locals have decided to keep their cards close to the chest till the last moment.

"No one is bothered about the plight of the common man. By now, we do not expect politicians from any party to show any concern or sympathy towards the poor. While the rich and mighty manage to get loans and subsidies, poor like us get one square meal only after working 8-10 hours a day," farm labour Gowramma told PTI at Tubagere Hobli, reacting to the campaign of the BJP candidate.

Chanting "Modi, Modi...", youth at a BJP road show make it obvious that the poll on April 18 will be decided on the basis of national personalities and issues ranging from personality cults to national issues like demonetisation and Balakot strikes.

"Modiji is very popular with youth up to the age of 40 and they have created a wave larger than 2014, making the contest almost one sided," says former state minister and BJP candidate Bache Gowda.

He says the election is being fought over the issue of Modi and BJP has promised to fulfil the long pending demand of completing over Rs 14,000 crore Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Project that aims to bring water to the arid region by having water from river Nethravthi lifted, diverted and transported 300 km via canals.

Gowda also says sparring between Congress and JD(S) workers will give an edge to the BJP.

Not very impressed with the BJP's narrative, Moily tells a jam-packed crowd comprising different ages and genders how Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is "supporting" Modi.

"The have entered a pact on Kashmir and the BJP wants to compromise with sacrifices made by our soldiers. Delhi has always been compassionate towards Kashmir so as to keep the state an integral part of India. Why should Pakistan interfere in the affairs of India?" he tells the audience that responded with a thunderous applause.

The Pakistan prime minister had recently said that there maybe a better chance of peace talks with India if BJP wins the next general elections.

Dismissing allegation of non-implementation of the Yettinahole project, Moily says, "80 per cent work is complete and 100 km stretch of work needs to be done. The work is in progress. Those who have eyes, they can see."

"I will die only after giving water to you. In the next five years, my biggest achievement will be ensuring water to each house and every farm field," Moily added.

Apparently, the Congress has an advantage since it has five out of eight assembly segments and two with its alliance partner JD(S). The BJP, though has hold on one assembly segment, is trying hard to cash in on the Modi factor.

Though the constituency is dominated by Vokkaligas with about 4 lakh voters, it has about 5.75 lakh SC/STs, 1.2 lakh Kuruba and 1.5 lakh each of OBC and Balija voters.

The first phase of polling in 14 parliamentary constituencies out of 28 in Karnataka is scheduled to be held on April 18

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