Ahead of the bypolls in the state, the Karnataka Congress on Monday launched a personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling him “angootha-chhaap” (illiterate).
“The Congress built schools but Modi never went to study. Congress even set up schemes for adults to learn, Modi didn’t learn there too. People who chose to beg for a living despite beggary being prohibited are today pushing citizens to beggary. The country is suffering because of “#angoothachhaap modi,” the Karnataka Congress tweeted in Kannada.
The comment received sharp criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Only the Congress could stoop so low,” Karnataka BJP spokesperson Malavika Avinash said, adding that the comment did not even merit a response.
Admitting the tone of the tweet was unfortunate, State Congress spokesperson Lavanya Ballal said there would be an inquiry.
“I have always believed that civil and parliamentary language is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for political discourse. An uncivil tweet made by a novice social media manager through the Karnataka Congress official Twitter handle is regretted and stands withdrawn,” state Congress president DK Shivakumar tweeted.
The bypolls will be held for the assembly constituencies of Sindagi and Hangal on October 30. It was necessitated as the seats fell vacant following the death of Sindagi JD(S) legislator M C Managuli and BJP’s C M Udasi from Hangal.
While Ramesh Bhusanur, who came second behind Managuli in the 2018 polls, is the BJP candidate from Sindagi, Shivaraj Sajjanar is its candidate from Hangal constituency. The Congress has named Managuli’s son Ashok Managuli, who has joined the party, as its candidate from Sindgi, while former MLC Srinivas Mane is its candidate from Hangal.
This is the first electoral challenge for Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai after taking charge. Retaining Hangal is even more important for him as it is the neighbouring constituency to his Shiggaon assembly segment.
The Congress, by ensuring a win, wants to give momentum for its preparations in the run-up to 2023 assembly polls in the state, while JD(S) is looking to retain the Sindagi seat and thereby prove that it still commands a support base in the northern districts.
Congress leaders have alleged that JD(S) deliberately fielded minority candidates for the Hangal and Sindagi by-elections to help the BJP.
(With inputs from PTI)