Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying the previous BJP government in the southern state "broke graft records" with numerous scams.
"While Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about corruption, he forgets that it was the BJP government led by BS Yeddyurappa that broke records in corruption with land scam, mining scam etc.," Gandhi said, addressing a party rally in Hospet in Bellary district, about 350km from Bengaluru.
Yeddyurappa, the BJP state unit's president, was the Chief Minister of the state from 2008 to 2011, when he was forced to step down from the post over his alleged involvement in a land scam.
Gandhi is on a four-day visit to the poll-bound state, where legislative assembly elections are due in April-May. This was his first visit to the state after he took over as the party chief in December.
He kicked off the party's poll campaign from Bellary, the Lok Sabha constituency from where his mother and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi had defeated BJP leader Sushma Swaraj in the 1999 general elections.
He claimed the Siddaramaiah-led state government was a "clean" administration.
"We are proud that Siddaramaiah's government was a clean administration. When we come to power next, we will work twice as hard," the Congress leader asserted.
The Congress party, however, will not claim that any one party or person has developed Karnataka, said Gandhi.
"Karnataka is not built by any single person, but by its farmers, women, youth and labour," Gandhi reiterated.
Gandhi also met the beneficiaries of Article 371-J under which people from the old Hyderabad-Karnataka region are given employment and seats for education on preference and priority.
"Sonia Gandhi made sure the Hyderabad-Karnataka region got its special status and kept the promise, at a time when the BJP said it was not possible," he recalled.
The region currently receives Rs 4,000 crore, as against to Rs 350 crore grants it earlier got, Gandhi added.
Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, state Congress chief G. Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah were among the others present at the public rally.
Congress chief connects with people
Calling his tour in the state as 'Jana Aashirwada Yatre' (a journey for people's blessings), Rahul Gandhi interacted with thousands of people and party cadres from the north Karnataka region.
"I share a special connection with Bellary. You stood by Sonia Gandhi and chose her when she needed you," the Congress leader said at the party rally.
He had also visited Huligamma temple in the neighbouring Koppal town and Gavi Siddheswara Lingayat Mutt and met its head priest.
Gandhi later addressed a 'corner meeting' in Koppal, attended by hundreds of men, women and children from the district.
A special Volvo bus has been arranged for the party chief for his four-day visit.
On Sunday, Gandhi will travel by road for public receptions at Kushtagi, Kankagiri and Gangavati, followed by a public meeting at Karatagi in Koppal district.
He will be touring Raichur, Yadgir and Kalaburgi districts to interact with farmers, youths and students.