Siddaramaiah challenges PM Modi, Yeddyurappa to open debate

Bengaluru: With just five days left for the Karnataka Assembly elections, the politics in the state is heating up. State Chief Minister Siddaramaiah made an official challenge for a debate to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party’s Karnataka chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa.
The Congress issued an advertisement on Monday in local dailies in poll-bound Karnataka.
The advertisement, featuring Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, asked BJP’s prospective chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to a “debate with facts”.
A tweet from the 69-year-old Chief Minister repeated the invitation — with an addition: “Modi is also welcome”.
While the debate topic was their plans “for the future of Karnataka”, the large print hinted at the context: “Stop making false accusations, allegations. Why not debate with facts and let the people of Karnataka decide who is truthful,” the advertisement read.
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The Karnataka Congress led by Siddaramaiah has been attacked recently by BJP for meeting with two “declared absconders” wanted for financial fraud.
The BJP on Sunday accused Siddaramaiah of being linked to two men accused of fraud who are currently absconding.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters that Siddaramaiah had met them in China during the September 2013 World Economic Forum and was seen receiving a “gift package” from them.
Patra even questioned if the gift was a “premium Hublot watch” – the taunt a reference to a hugely expensive watch the Chief Minister was seen wearing once.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah rubbished the allegations, saying he met many people in course of the China visit and cannot remember them all. But the Chief Minister — who has hugely upped his game on Twitter, matching the BJP blow for blow — has hit back, asking Yeddyurappa reveal his plans for the state.
Read: BJP shows Karnataka CM’s pic with ‘declared absconder’, he rebuts charge
Since the campaigning for the Karnataka Assembly elections started, the Congress has accused the BJP of not having any plans for Karnataka’s development and using other means to deflect attention from it.
The 15-minute debate challenge was issued by Congress President Rahul Gandhi to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a fortnight ago.
Last week, the Prime Minister had responded with an insult, saying he challenged Rahul Gandhi to speak for 15 minutes without notes in Hindi, English or his “mother’s mother tongue”.