Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched a final attack before the Karnataka polls and claimed that the election is a fight to 'save the spirit of the state'.
Speaking at a press conference in Bengaluru on the last day of campaigning before the polls on Thursday, Rahul criticised the BJP for bringing in a barrage of leaders from outside the state to campaign for the party.
"This is a fight between the spirit of Karnataka and RSS. We don't want a barrage of leaders from outside to come here and fight for you. We are depending on the solid leadership we have here and we are raising the voice of the people of Karnataka," he said.
Rahul further stated that the RSS was trying to take over the state. "What you have to realise is that the RSS is trying to take over your state. The RSS is attacking Basavanna, it is attacking your language, your culture, your wonderful food. It is trying to decimate your way of life and we will not allow it to happen. We are standing with you, we will fight them off and we will make sure that the voice of Basavanna and the idea and spirit of the state lives on," he said.
RSS workers are actively campaigning for the BJP in the state for the first time at the grassroots level. The BJP has also brought in 40 star campaigners, including Prime Minister Modi, party president Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and several other Union Ministers to boost the party in the state.
The Congress, in comparison, has largely built its campaign around state leaders, and particularly Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is contesting from two constituencies.
The Congress president also slammed the Prime Minister’s jibe, where Modi asked him to speak for 15 minutes in “whatever language you want, Hindi, English, or your mother’s mother tongue.”
"She is more Indian than many Indians I see. My mother has sacrificed for this country,” Rahul said.
"If the PM likes to abuse her, he may do so if it pleases him. It shows the quality of the PM when he makes these comments. If he likes it, then let him,” he added.
Rahul also criticised BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa and claimed that BJP has no right to say it fights against corruption. "His chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa has spent time in jail for corruption and stealing from the people of Karnataka," he said.
He further lashed out at the BJP for nominating candidates close to the family of tainted mining baron Janardhana Reddy.
"On the other side, there are the Reddy brothers who have stolen as much money from Karnataka as the Congress gave to NREGA. People of Karnataka, the Reddy brothers have stolen Rs 35,000 crores from you and the Prime Minister has to answer why eight seats have been given to those who are close to the Reddy brothers and why the Central Bureau of Investigation has become the Central Bureau of Illegal Mining," he said.
Claiming that the Congress is focused on fundamental issues, Rahul reiterated a claim that has been highlighted several times by his party members in the run-up to polls.
"The Karnataka government gives half the money the Centre gives for Dalit and tribal welfare. This is something for the Indian government to be ashamed of," he said.
He also condemned the PM's silence on what he perceived to be fundamental issues. "If Indian women are raped, politicians need to talk about it. It is a political issue. The treatment of our women, 50% of our population, is absolutely a political issue", he said.
Rahul also questioned the PM about what he has done for farmers. "What are the issues in Karnataka? Helping the farmers is one, and we have given Rs 8,000 crore to farmers. How much money has the Prime Minister given to farmers of Karnataka?" he asked.