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The BJP Banks on Modi in Udupi

As part of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally at the MGM College ground in Udupi on Tuesday.  Facing a packed venue, Modi attacked the Congress on various fronts and focused on the banking sectors.

Modi began his address with a few words in Kannada before switching to Hindi. Noting that the audience did not require a translator, Modi said that language was not a barrier between him and the people. He also expressed his gratitude towards the people of Udupi for their undying love and support they’d given to the BJP right from the days of Jana Sangha. “Udupi is not only the land of temples but also the land of banking. This land gave new strength and direction to banking in our country,” said the Prime Minister as he went on to speak about various pioneers of the banking sector, such as Dr TMA Pai, AB Shetty, and Haji Saheb.

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Modi attacked the Congress and accused them of abusing the banking sector for the benefit of a handful. He claimed to have brought the banks closer to the poor with the help of Jana Dhana Yojana, under which they opened over 31 crore bank accounts. He slammed the Congress for not bringing in a similar policy 40-50 years ago, which could have improved the economic status of citizens and substantially reduced poverty in the country. Furthermore, he said that his government connected the youth with banks and empowered them to chase their dreams. “We started the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana under which around 12 crore loans were approved, that amounted to a total of more than Rs. 4 lakh crore. In Karnataka alone, 1.25 crore loans were approved,” said the Prime Minister.

He questioned the Karnataka government over the killing of BJP workers, saying that while the nation was talking about ease of doing business, the Congress had developed a culture of “ease of doing murder”. He also spoke about how he respects Deve Gowda in spite of differences in opinion and accused the Congress of insulting the politician.

A Modi doppelganger and man dressed as Gandhi in the audience. Picture credits: Vishal Shenoy

“We believe in action and implementation,” said Modi, talking about women’s safety issues in Karnataka and the BJP’s decision to bring in the death penalty for rapists. He praised the students of Udupi for faring well in almost every major academic exam. However, he expressed sorrow for they had to move to bigger cities like Bangalore because of the lack of opportunities in their towns and promised to improve the situation if BJP came into power. “This government does not allow work to be done and halts the progress every time it comes into power,” he added, urging the people to overthrow the Congress government and vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming elections to be held on 12th May. The BJP will be fielding former MLA Raghupathi Bhat against current minister Pramod Madhwaraj of the Indian National Congress and Bidthi Gangadhar Bhandari of Janata Dal (Secular) in the Udupi constituency.

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