As Karnataka voted to elect a new government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his rally in Rajasthan on Wednesday to accuse the Congress in the southern state of endangering the lives of the people from the Hakki Pikki tribe who were stuck in conflict-hit Sudan.
But, the prime minister added in the televised speech, the Congress forgot that he can cross any limit to protect every Indian in trouble. Modi said to harm him, the Congress does not desist from harming the country.
About 200 members of the tribal community from Karnataka were reportedly stuck in Sudan, when deadly fighting broke out between the country’s army and a paramilitary group last month. India launched Operation Kaveri to rescue its citizens and gradually began evacuating them via several transit points.
Modi said his government’s priority was to evacuate all Indians safely from Sudan but the Congress exposed the identity of the people from the tribe stranded there and put their lives at risk. He alleged Congress leaders thought if any Indian stuck in in the African nation gets hurt by bullets, the party would blame him in the Karnataka polls.
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”The BJP government was trying to get them out of Sudan but the Congress started making noise here. We had to bring them out quietly but the Congressmen made their faces public and by making such mistakes, they put the lives of these people in danger,” the prime minister said at the rally in Abu Road town of Rajasthan’s Sirhoi district.
He said the Congress was waiting for something untoward to happen, so they could ”grab Modi’s collar” and play politics in Karnataka.
”But the Congress forgot one thing. I think the Congress has not understood Modi yet. Congress people should know this is Modi, who can cross any limit to protect every single Indian who is in trouble,” he said.
Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had tweeted about 31 members from the Hakki Pikki people from Sudan. He had tagged the prime minister in the tweet, urging him to bring the tribal community members to India safely.
Responding to his tweet, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said, ”Simply appalled at your tweet! There are lives at stake; don’t do politics. Since the fighting started on April 14th, the Embassy of India in Khartoum has been continuously in touch with most Indian nationals and PIOs in Sudan.” Polling for the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly is underway and the results will be announced on May 13.
During his day-long Rajasthan visit, the prime minister also visited Nathdwara and launched various development projects.