Attacking the ruling Congress in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his rally in Shivamogga on Saturday claimed that the party had become synonymous with corruption.
PM Modi also mocked the Energy Minister DK Shivakumar and Congress leader Anil Lad for their involvement in mining scams.
The Prime Minister's statements come as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other top leaders of the Congress are constantly calling out the BJP for giving tickets to two scam-tainted Reddy brothers from Ballari. While Gali Janardhana Reddy himself cannot contest in polls and was recently barred from campaigning by the Supreme Court, Somashekara Reddy is contesting from Ballari City and Karunakara Reddy from Harapanahalli
The BJP had given tickets to the brothers of Gali Janardhana Reddy, the prime accused in the 2011 Ballari Mining Scam report. Somashekara Reddy is contesting from Ballari City while Karunakara Reddy is contesting from Harapanahalli.
A close aide of theirs, B Sriramulu, is contesting two constituencies – he will face-off against CM Siddaramaiah in Badami and is also contesting from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga.
The BJP's decision to bring the Reddys back from political oblivion has been a major talking point ahead of the polls.
However, while PM Modi has avoided the topic in his previous speeches, he addressed the issue head-on on Saturday in Shivamogga, the home district of the party's chief ministerial face BS Yeddyurappa.
"Today there is no difference between the C of Congress and C of corruption,” he said.
"Their candidate (DK Shivakumar) claims that in five years his assets have increased by Rs 800 crore. They say they won't let dishonest people into the Assembly. But those who are sitting as ministers, their almirahs, beds and bathrooms are filled with money. Even during demonetisation, hoards of cash was discovered from his bed and there was even money in the bathroom door," he alleged.
Speaking about the sand mafia in the region, Modi said, "River is yours, sand is yours. But for a bagful of sand, you have to go to this godfather. Who has created this situation? If Congress comes to ask for vote, ask them who is the sand mafia, who hugs them and who protects them? Ask them who their godfather is. These candidates are sitting on people's money," he added.
Modi was in Shivamogga as part of his whirlwind tour of Karnataka which began on May 1. He is currently on his third visit to the state ahead of the polls on May 12.