Hubli: On a day when a ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator was convicted and jailed in a bribery case, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Saturday charged the BJP with making Karnataka the most corrupt state in the country.
"There is no other state more corrupt than the BJP-ruled Karnataka. At a time when half the state is reeling under drought, the ruling party's leaders are busy fighting among themselves," Gandhi said at a Youth Congress convention here, about 400 km from Bangalore.
Earlier in the day, a trial court in Bangalore convicted BJP lawmaker Y Sampangi in a bribery case and sentenced him to imprisonment for three years and six months.
Exhorting the party's state youth wing to rally the people behind the Congress, Gandhi said the party's state unit leaders and cadres should also brace up to dislodge the BJP government in the next assembly elections, due in early 2013.
"You should remain united and work hard to ensure that the people throw out the corrupt BJP government and bring our party back to power in the state. It is important to bury differences, if any, and brace up for the state elections next year," Gandhi asserted.
Lamenting that the state government failed to properly utilise funds that the central government had released for implementing social schemes, Gandhi said as a result the ruling BJP's leaders and ministers became richer, while the people remained backward.
"The Congress is the only party that can change the fortunes of Karnataka. But to enable it, our experienced leaders and young members should work in unison and give the people an opportunity to vote the party back to power," Gandhi said in Hindi.
Accusing the BJP government of dividing people on caste lines and discriminating against some communities, Gandhi said that in contrast the previous governments were pro-people and strived for the welfare of farmers, weaker sections, minorities and the less privileged.
"Unlike in the past when the whole state used to move in unison for the welfare and socio-economic development of its people, the BJP government has been dividing people to make them fight against each other," Gandhi observed.
Gandhi is on a two-day visit to the state to galvanise the party for the electoral battle ahead.
Gandhi's visit, however, assumed significance following the resignation of party's senior leader Siddharamiah from the leader of the opposition post in the state legislative assembly Thursday over the choice of the party's nominees to the June 11 state legislative council by-election.