Invoking the teachings of 12th century social reformer Basavanna, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday claimed that his party's government in Karnataka gave a clean administration in the last five years.
"Following the teachings of Basavanna, our party has given a clean administration over the last five years in Karnataka. We have developed rapidly and did not make any fake promises," said Gandhi at a public rally in Belagavi district.
Gandhi, who is on a three-day visit to the state's erstwhile Bombay-Karnataka region, said the Congress government in the southern state had truly imbibed the philosophy of Basavanna's teachings -- follow what you preach.
"Basavanna said: 'Do not harm'. But under the Modi government, atrocities against Dalits, Adivasis and minorities have been on the rise. We started celebrating Akka Mahadevi Jayanti and Kittur Rani Chennamma Jayanti. The BJP only talks, it didn't do anything when it was in power in the state earlier (2008-13)," asserted Gandhi.
Noting that women's empowerment is an integral goal of the state's development, Gandhi said the Congress government had implemented many schemes, which helped the women improve their life and unlock their potential.
"For the benefit of women, our government has launched 'Anila Bhagya' scheme to provide free cooking gas connection and stove to about 30 lakh families. 'Mathrupoorna' scheme meets the nutritional needs of pregnant women," reiterated Gandhi.
Participating in the "Jana Ashirwade Yatra" (seeking people's blessings) to return to power in the ensuing assembly election, the party chief repeatedly quoted Basavanna.
"Basavanna had said five things -- don't indulge in theft, don't indulge in violence, do not lie, do not boast about yourself and don't spread anger," recalled Gandhi in a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
"Basavanna's first sermon is 'don't indulge in theft'. Modi says the Congress government in Karnataka is corrupt. When he says it, on his right side is his chief ministerial candidate B.S. Yeddyurappa who had gone to jail, on the other side, four more ministers who too had gone to jail," pointed out Gandhi.
"He (Modi) banned high currency notes, implemented GST (Gabbar Singh Tax) and destroyed lakhs of businesses, but Jay Shah's (BJP President Amit Shah's son) business turned into Rs 80 crore from Rs 50,000 within three months. But Modi does not speak about it," recalled Gandhi.
Quoting Basavanna's other sermon -- don't indulge in violence, Gandhi accused the Modi government of dividing society on communal lines.
Interacting with hundreds of women at Tikota in the neighbouring Vijayapura district, Gandhi said Karnataka was the first state in the country to have an industrial park for women entrepreneurs.
"Karnataka is ahead of most states in empowering women. We believe that everyone should have equal opportunities," added Gandhi.
State Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, party's state unit president G Parameshwara, other state leaders and cabinet ministers from the state's northwest region accompanied Gandhi on his day-long visit to the districts of Belagavi, Vijayapura and Chikkodi.