Suburban rail to Rafale deal, Modi gave Bengaluru raw deal: Rahul Gandhi

Cong prez accuses BJP of not respecting city's cosmopolitan culture

Suburban rail to Rafale deal, Modi gave Bengaluru raw deal: Rahul Gandhi

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not helping Bengaluru, which he hailed as "a symbol of India."

Rahul was addressing a massive rally at Palace Grounds, which marked the end of the Janaarshivada Yatre.

"Modi should talk about why he hasn't helped Bengaluru," Rahul said. "Modi gave just Rs 1 crore for the suburban rail system, whereas the Congress government has contributed Rs 700 crore."

Rahul also raked up the Rafale deal, accusing Modi of causing losses to Bengaluru. "Under the UPA's Rafale deal, every aircraft was priced at Rs 760 crore and Bengaluru's HAL was given the contract. But Modi snatched the deal from HAL and gave it to his industrialist friend. The price of each aircraft was fixed at Rs 1,550 crore. This is a loss for India and Bengaluru," he charged.

The Congress government, he said, had given Rs 10,000 crore for Bengaluru's development. "Bengaluru is a symbol of India. The country's success over the last 70-80 years is based on the same idea that Bengaluru is based on," he said.

He also accused the BJP-led Centre of disparity in drought relief. "Despite severe, consecutive drought, Karnataka got the lowest relief of Rs 1,400 crore whereas Maharashtra got Rs 8,000 crore and Gujarat Rs 3,800 crore. Isn't Karnataka also a part of India?"

Switching his speech to English from Hindi, Rahul promised that the Congress would value Bengaluru's culture and its way of life. "We're fighting an idea - the BJP - that does not respect Bengaluru's cosmopolitan culture. The Congress will do everything to protect your way of life, infrastructure and whatever you need to make India proud," he said, thanking Bengalureans for "everything you have done."

'Will win the election'

"I have travelled across Karnataka and I've covered almost all districts in the past few months. Karnataka's mood is in favour of Congress and we will win the election," Rahul asserted.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed confidence that the Congress would win 25 out of 28 Assembly seats in Bengaluru. By the time Siddaramaiah started his speech, however, the crowd started leaving. Scores of empty chairs were seen during the chief minister's speech.

Rahul does it again

Rahul did a faux pas during his speech when he said Bengaluru had an Indian Institute of Technology. "Bengaluru's foundation was laid years ago with the setting up of HAL, BEL, IIT, IISc..." Rahul said. Perhaps realising the mistake, Congress leader B L Shankar, who was translating the speech from Hindi, changed IIT to ITI. Karnataka's only IIT is in Dharwad, which was set up in 2016.

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