Lok Sabha elections: Ready to be PM if Congress comes to power, says Rahul

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused the Congress of pursuing a ‘divide and rule’ policy on a day when Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he was ready to be prime minister if his party wins 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The day was also marked by the debut of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the Karnataka Assembly campaign and complaints by the Congress that the income-tax department was singling out the party’s leadership for raids.

The election campaign ends on Thursday and the state goes to the polls on Saturday. Counting will be held on May 15. 

At an interaction in Bengaluru, Congress chief was asked if would be the next prime minister. “Well, it depends... it depends on how well the Congress does in the election... I mean, if it emerges as the biggest party, yes,” he said. “It is highly unlikely that BJP will form the next government, and the second part is that it is close to impossible that Modi will be the next prime minister,” Rahul Gandhi said, adding that the Congress would be the lynchpin for opposition unity.

Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi, at a rally in Vijayapura, questioned the Modi government for failing to appoint anti-corruption ombudsman — the Lokpal. 

“Modi is a good orator and speaks like an actor but that does not feed the people,” she said. In his speeches Modi said the Congress was already busy finding excuses for its defeat in Karnataka polls, and that they would put the blame on “faulty” EVMs.

With most observers in agreement that a significant anti-incumbency against the Siddaramaiah government is absent, Modi spoke at length about the alleged corruption in the state government.

Campaigning in the Lingayat stronghold, Modi quoted from 12th century Lingayat philosopher Basavanna. He said the Congress was dividing the society on caste lines. Taking a dig at Sonia’s campaign, Modi said Congress leaders have begun to doubt Rahul Gandhi’s ability to steer the Congress to victory in Karnataka. “So, send the mother to ensure its candidates can at least save their security deposits,” Modi said. He also raised the issue of women’s safety, and how the Congress stalled the triple talaq Bill in Parliament.

At a press conference in Bengaluru, Congress leader P Chidambaram said his party will resolve the Cauvery water dispute if it comes back to power. This was on a day when the Supreme Court told the Centre that it was in “sheer contempt” of its direction on Cauvery water sharing for failing to frame a scheme for distribution of water between Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Puducherry. 

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