Indira Gandhi had won a historic bye-election in 1978 from Chikkamagaluru.

Modi attacks Cong says Indira never returned to Karnataka after winning from there
Karnataka Elections Karnataka 2018 Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - 19:51

In poll-bound Karnataka, election campaigning has reached a feverish pitch. From the BJP to the Congress and the JD(S), all major parties are leaving no stone unturned to attack their opponents as they try to win over voters.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up his attack on the Congress Party by hitting out at former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

At a rally in Chikkamagaluru, Modi spoke about Indira Gandhi — who, in 1978, had contested from the constituency for a Lok Sabha election. Once she won it though, Modi said, she returned to Delhi, never to return.

"Congress has poisonous veins, one that creates hunger and eliminates happiness," he said.

"In 1978, you witnessed that Congress party lost the elections in the Centre. Indira Gandhi came running to Karnataka to woo the people here. She used your support to regain power in the Centre. She returned with your votes to New Delhi. Did she ever step in Chikkamagaluru after that? Will you have faith in such a party, with the family, or its leaders?" he asked.

"Her daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi experienced difficulties too. She visited Ballari and cried, explaining her plight. But did she do well to the people of Ballari?" he added.

Historic bye-election

The 1978 bye-election from Chikkamagaluru helped Indira Gandhi make her political comeback.

Just a year before, in 1977, Indira was thrown out of office after she faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of Janata Party's Raj Narain in Rae Bareli during the General Elections.

While tendering her resignation from office, Indira said that "the collective judgment of the electorate must be respected."

However, her victory from Chikkamagaluru proved to be a major boost for the Congress party, which was struggling in the post-Emergency period.

Sageer Ahmed, a former Congress minister and three-time Chikmagalur MLA who was part of Indira Gandhi’s campaign team, told The Times of India how Indira campaigned tirelessly ahead of the bye-polls.

Ahmed recollected that even though she campaigned only for a month, she put everything she had in it. She would campaign for 18 hours a day, sometimes walking in the rain or riding in a bullock cart. She was literally living on dry fruits and juice. According to Ahmed, one of the popular slogans of the time which compared Indira to a tigress was "Ek sherni, sau langur, Chikmagalur, chikmagalur".

Rahul's PM remark is dynastic 'arrogance'

In the final lap of his campaign blitz in Karnataka, Modi also launched a sharp attack against Congress President Rahul Gandhi, saying a "dynast" aspiring to be the Prime Minister was sheer "arrogance".

Addressing back-to-back rallies at different places in the state which votes on Saturday to elect a new government, Modi said Congress leaders were arranging big meetings and conspiring to remove him.Taking a swipe at Rahul, Modi said he was day-dreaming of becoming the Prime Minister in 2019.

"There is a leader of Congress who thinks only about one thing throughout the day —  how to be the Prime Minister. Such is the arrogance of the 'naamdhaar' (dynast). This naamdhaar doesn't care about others who are standing in the queue.

"He came like a bully and marched his way ahead when there were others waiting with so many years of experience. How can someone just declare himself the Prime Minister? This is simply nothing but sheer arrogance," Modi said.

He said that Gandhi, with an "inflated ego despite losing 25-30 elections in the last four years", didn't even bother about the leaders who have been waiting for 40 years and about other allies in the UPA.

With IANS inputs

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