Chikamagalur/Mangalore: Castigating the BJP government in Karnataka for 'betraying' people's mandate, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday made a strong pitch for a 'change' and stable government in the state which was suffering due to 'bad governance'.
"There is a need for a change as never before as the BJP has completely betrayed people's mandate and made them suffer due to bad governance. Immoral behaviour of persons in position of power has crossed all limits. Law and order has collapsed," Gandhi said.
Addressing public meetings in Chikamagalur and Mangalore for the May five Assembly polls, she said, "I remind the young generation that these are some of the darkest days ...People want change. The need for change is now, and now",
She charged that under the BJP's rule, mining mafias destroyed the mineral resources and fanatical elements damaged secular values of the state by spreading fear and hatred among people for their narrow political ends.
BJP's 'misgovernance' also saw a lot of investors fleeing the state because of corruption, bad governance and crumbling infrastructure, Gandhi said. "Karnataka used to be held as an example of good governance. But it is the opposite now. This is not the people voted for."
Striking a personal chord at Chikamagalur, she said, "We can never forget and will never forget that Chikmagalur adopted my mother-in-law Indira Gandhi as your own sister. Thirty five years ago, the people of Chikmagalur lent Indiraji a helping hand when she needed it most ..."
Indira Gandhi had won a by-election from Chikamagalur in 1978 during the erstwhile Janata Party rule that ultimately helped in resurrecting her political stature and domination and stage a comeback as Prime Minister.
In coastal Mangalore, considered a BJP stronghold, Gandhi tried to connect with the gathering, repeatedly using the Kannada word 'badalavane' meaning change.
"People of Karnataka are looking for badalavane. They are looking for change. And the time for badalavane is now and the chance for that badalavane is 5th May (polling date)," she said.
In both the rallies, she asked the people to vote for stability for a brighter future of Karnataka. "We cannot have government with every one day a chief minister changing. A stable government is the need of the hour. For that to happen, you (voters) need to vote for Congress to give a stable government," she said.
Gandhi was apparently referring to the change of chief ministers three times during the BJP rule which was also marked by intra-party squabbles creating an atmosphere of political uncertainty frequently.
The Congress chief also asked the BJP government to provide details of central funds given to the state for implementing various welfare schemes belonging to all sections of the society. "Where that all money gone?" she asked.
The immediate task lying before Congress is to restore Karnataka's pride and protect secular values of the state. "We reject any communal ideology," she said.