Bangalore/Hubli: The Congress would build world class infrastructure in 'Bengaluru' if voted to power again in Karnataka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday while attacking the ruling BJP for its "corruption" which had stalled the development of the city and the state.
"I assure you, the new Congress government, when elected to power, will give world class infrastructure to Bengaluru because Bengaluru deserves the best. We will give good roads, basic amenities, affordable houses and quality power," Manmohan Singh told a gathering of about 10,000 people at Kumbalgodu, about 25km from the state capital's outskirts on Mysore road.
The rally was marred by a sudden downpour which left the audience drenched and delayed the event by an hour.
Though the central government is yet to notify the change in the city's name to 'Bengaluru' from Bangalore as proposed by the then Janata-Dal-Secular (JD-S)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government in 2007, the prime minister throughout his 30-minute written speech in English pronounced the city as 'Bengaluru' much to the delight of the local people living in the neighbourhood who pronounce it the same way in the local Kannada language.
Accusing the BJP government in the state of neglecting Bangalore during its five-year "misrule", Manmohan Singh said the central government would build the Bangalore-Chennai industrial corridor, which will not only create thousands of jobs, but also connect the tech city to world markets through Chennai port.
"We are all proud of the excellent work done here by the enterprising people in the information technology (IT) that made 'Bengaluru' a global city and attracted people from across the country to make it a cosmopolitan city," he observed.
Noting that Karnataka has been slipping and falling behind other states in the development process during the five-year tenure of the BJP, he said that during the Congress rule in the past, particularly under chief ministers like M. Veerappa Moily, S.M. Krishna and N. Dharam Singh, the state was always development-oriented and that is why it and Bangalore have progressed rapidly over the past four decades.
"When the Congress was in power in the state and at the centre, the enterprising people of Karnataka took full advantage of the economic reforms of the 1990s and led the state and 'Bengaluru' in the field of information technology (IT). Over the years, I have observed Karnataka's development. I have always admired the way in which Karnataka has empowered its panchayats," he said.
Ridiculing the claims of the BJP on the development front, the prime minister said it had changed three chief ministers during the last two years, many of its ministers had resigned on various charges, and its senior officials were facing inquiry on graft charges.
Earlier, on his one-day whirlwind tour of the state, Manmohan Singh said at Hubli, about 400km from here, that corruption in the BJP government had hit the state's development and urged people to vote for the Congress in the May 5 assembly poll.
Faulting the BJP government on all fronts - power, drinking water, irrigation, agriculture, and infrastructure - and on utilisation of central funds, the prime minister said that apart from lack of proper development in minority-dominated areas in the state, communal harmony had been hit and there was "sense of insecurity among the minorities".
"The state had development well only under the Congress rule and we promise to take the state back on the path of progress if the party is voted to power again," he added.
Party's state unit president G. Parameshwara and national general secretary B.K. Hariprasad also spoke at both the places.