Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday claimed his party will retain power in Karnataka by securing a majority in the May 12 Assembly elections."The Congress will retain power in Karnataka. Our government will not work for only industrialists but also farmers, weaker sections and the poor," said an upbeat Gandhi at public rallies in the state's central districts.Polling for the 224 Assembly segments will be held on May 12 and votes counted on May 15.The Congress chief, on a two-day visit to the southern state for the fifth time in two months, assured the people that his party and the new government would work for the further development the state."Together, we will build a new Karnataka, which will be hunger-free and have homes, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and jobs for all," Gandhi said at Shivamogga and Davangere in Malnad region.Lauding the Siddaramaiah government for completing its five-year term on what he called a high-note on all fronts, Gandhi said his government had been providing free rice and wheat to the poor through flagship 'Anna Bhagya' scheme and opened Indira canteens to serve subsidised breakfast, lunch and dinner daily in Bengaluru and other districts."Besides ensuring food security to all, our government has been providing free milk to thousands of boys and girls in state-run schools under 'Ksheera Bhagya'. We have also been giving free books, uniforms, laptops, and free education to girls up to degree college," the Congress leader said.
Expressing confidence that the people would repose their faith in the Congress again, Gandhi said unlike other parties, his party not only believed in making but fulfilling promises."As given in our manifesto in 2013 Assembly elections, our government fulfilled all promises in five years," the 48-year-old scion of the Gandhi-Nehru family said.Earlier in the day, Gandhi flew to Hubballi in the state's northwest from Delhi in a private aircraft and took a chopper to Shivamogga for 'Jana Ashirvada Yatra' (people's blessings) in the run-up to the elections.Besides interacting with people in the districts and participating in street shows, Gandhi visited Kaginale Mutt to seek the blessings of Lingayat seer Niranjananda Puri.He said he was overwhelmed by the huge response to party rallies and meetings in the home district (Shivamogga) of BJP's state President B.S. Yeddyurappa, Gandhi said the BJP had projected a person jailed in a graft case as its chief ministerial candidate."I would also like to remind Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a nation cannot be ruled on (the basis of) hatred, violence and discrimination."I have seen Prime Ministers like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. One thing is clear. If you want to run the nation, you need to run it with love. You can take the nation to any heights with love," added Gandhi amidst applause from the gathering.