Days ahead of the crucial Karnataka assembly elections, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday landed himself in trouble as he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “poisonous snake”, drawing a massive backlash from the BJP. After receiving criticism and sensing the negative impact of his statement during the poll season, the 80-year-old leader clarified that the remark was made on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideology.
Addressing a public meeting in Kalaburgi district, as part of the Congress’s campaign for the May 10 Assembly elections, Kharge was heard saying, “PM Modi is like a ‘poisonous snake’, you might think it is poison or not. If you lick it, you are dead…”
Issuing a clarification later, Kharge told reporters, “It was not meant for PM Modi, what I meant was BJP’s ideology is ‘like a snake’. I never said this personally for PM Modi, what I said was their ideology is like a snake and if you try to touch it, your death is certain.”
It wasn’t meant for PM Modi, what I meant was BJP’s ideology is ‘like a snake’. I never said this personally for PM Modi, what I said was their ideology is like a snake and if you try to touch it, your death is certain: Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge clarifies over his earlier… https://t.co/qBO2S0TSz5 pic.twitter.com/d32oN97zCe— ANI (@ANI) April 27, 2023
Meanwhile, the BJP has launched a full-frontal attack on the Congress as the remark by Kharge comes just two days before PM Modi’s whirlwind campaign in the poll-bound Karnataka with over 20 rallies and roadshows till May 6.
The party was already planning to raise the earlier remarks of the Congress – ‘Modi Teri Kabar Khudegi’ during the PM’s campaign to highlight how the grand old party wishes death upon the Prime Minister, and the latest remark could serve as a perfect launch-pad for Modi.
“The latest remark by Kharge shows the mindset of the Congress in attacking the Prime Minister with the vilest of abuse. The people of Karnataka will not accept such language by Congress and give a befitting answer to such a campaign with less than two weeks left in the campaign,” a senior BJP leader looking at the Karnataka campaign told News18.
Taking to Twitter, Kharge said he has always followed the “norms and traditions of political correctness towards friends and opponents” and would continue to do so.
…मैंने ग़रीबों व दलितों का दुख दर्द देखा भी है और सहा भी है।पॉंच दशकों से भाजपा तथा RSS की विभाजनकारी विचारधारा से, उनके नेताओं से, मेरा विरोध हमेशा से रहा है।
मेरी राजनीतिक लड़ाई उनकी राजनीति के ख़िलाफ़ थी, है और हमेशा रहेगी।
— Mallikarjun Kharge (@kharge) April 27, 2023
Offering an apology over his remark against PM Modi, he said, “If my statement has hurt anyone, if it was misconstrued and distressed anyone, I will express special regret for it. All I said there was this that we have ideological differences. The RSS-BJP’s ideology is poisonous. But they compared it to Prime Minister and claimed that Kharge commented about him. Let me clarify. It has never been my intent to speak about one person or hurt one person ever.”
With inputs from News18