Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday claimed there’s a “secret” pact between the Janata Dal-Secular and the Congress and said that Deve Gowda's party was “protecting” the Congress, but only the BJP can change the government in Karnataka.
"Poll surveys, political pundits...everyone is saying the JD(S) cannot defeat Congress. They cannot form government. If anyone can change the government in Karnataka, it is the BJP,” Modi said as he addressed an election rally in Karnataka’s Tumakuru.
"If anyone is protecting the Congress, it is the JD(S)... Congress and JD(S) have a secret understanding...an understanding behind the curtains," he said, taking a U-turn on Gowda and the JD-S.
Only on Tuesday at a rally in Udupi, Modi showered praises on JD-S chief and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and castigated Congress president Rahul Gandhi for "insulting" the former prime minister.
And, two days later, at a rally in Bengaluru, Modi asked people not to "waste" their votes by backing the JD-S as it was going to finish "a poor, distant third" in the elections.
Modi then demanded the Congress to make it clear its deal with the JD-S.
"Why are you hiding this? The Congress should have the courage to speak the truth to people," he said.
Modi said the Congress, which ruled the country for decades, neglected the poor and farmers.
"Garibi, garibi, garibi (poverty, poverty, poverty) was their constant rant. But once the son of a poor mother became the prime minister, they clammed shut...now they don't talk about poverty," he said.
Blaming the Congress for the backwardness of Tumakuru, Modi said the farmers were suffering because of the policies of successive Congress governments at the Centre and in the state.
Modi, however, said he respects Gowda and that when he came to the southern state of Karnataka for campaigning during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he said the JD-S leader should live for 100 years and serve the society. Gowda then had announced before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls that he would commit suicide if Modi became the prime minister.