Besides offering several freebies and financial assistance to women, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday announced free travel for women in public buses in Karnataka if his party is voted to power after the May 10 Assembly elections.

This is the fifth guarantee scheme announced by the Congress, and they all will be fulfilled in the first Cabinet meeting after the party comes to power, Gandhi promised while addressing a large gathering in Dakshina Kannada district.

Rahul Gandhi
Bidar: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during a public event at Balki in Bidar district, on Monday, April 17, 2023.IANS

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that our guarantee schemes will not be implemented. Let me make it clear, Congress will return to power in Karnataka with full majority. We will implement all the five schemes. Are you (Modi) ready to implement them in the country once they are in place here," Rahul Gandhi said.

The Congress had earlier announced:

  • A promise to provide monthly cash assistance of Rs 2,000 under the Gruha Lakshmi scheme to every woman head of household;
  • Promised 200 units of free electricity under the Gruha Jyothi scheme;
  • Promised 10 kg rice free of cost to every BPL family; and
  • Promised Rs 3,000 to unemployed graduates and Rs 1,500 to unemployed diploma holders every month for two years under the Yuva Nidhi scheme.
  • Now promised free bus travel to women in Karnataka.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul GandhiIANS

"Though the BJP is in power in Karnataka, its government was not formed with people's choice. The BJP damaged democracy by purchasing legislators to come to power," Rahul Gandhi said.

"The saffron leaders claim that the elections are all about handing over Karnataka to the BJP. They are asking the voters to hand over the future of the state to PM Modi. Do you want a corrupt government again? They take 40 per cent commission for everything," the Congress leader said.

He also claimed that the Congress will win 150 seats in Karnataka this time.

"No one can stop us. The BJP is a 40 per cent party and it should win only 40 seats. Don't forget that the BJP has stolen your hard-earned money," Rahul Gandhi said.

Kharge retracts 'poisonous snake' jibe at PM Modi

Meanwhile, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday retracted his remarks in which he compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a poisonous snake.

Mallikarjun Kharge

Kharge said, "there is no personal enmity with PM Modi, and it is a battle of ideologies".

In a statement, he said, "BJP's ideology is divisive. It spreads hatred and the party will create enmity against Dalits. I had discussed the politics of hatred. I have not issued the statement against PM Modi or any particular individual," Kharge said, adding: "The statement was about the ideology he represents."

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, hit back at the veteran Congress leader, with one top party leader saying "PM Modi is a poisonous snake for the corrupt".

(With inputs from IANS)