Narendra Modi Casts B.J.P. as Tech-Friendly Party During Bangalore Rally


BANGALORE — In his first campaign stop in southern India, Narendra Modi, the opposition candidate for prime minister, appealed to voters in this outsourcing hub on Sunday by characterizing his Bharatiya Janata Party as the champion of information technology and the governing Congress Party as the enemy of social media.

The 43.6 million voters in Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the capital, are key to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s strategy in retaking control of New Delhi. The state was the only one in south India to be governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or B.J.P., until it lost the assembly elections in May, and the B.J.P is hoping it can win back Karnataka voters during the national elections scheduled for next year.

Before an estimated 400,000 people, Mr. Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, said that when Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the B.J.P. was prime minister in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the information technology sector saw a tremendous expansion. The sector’s slowing growth since then, he contended, was a result of the flawed policies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.

He also blamed the central government for the weak rupee, which hit a record low against the dollar in August. “It seems that the U.P.A.’s rupee is in the I.C.U.,” he said, referring to the governing coalition.

Mr. Modi also accused the coalition of attempting to restrict the use of social media, saying the central government knows it is a powerful tool in shaping public dialogue.

For all of his gibes at the central government during his one-hour speech, Mr. Modi said little about the Congress-led government that is running the state of Karnataka. His only criticism concerned the state government’s removal of the ban on the slaughter of cows, which had been instituted by the previous B.J.P. administration.

“As soon as the Congress came to power in Karnataka, first thing it did was lifting the ban over cow slaughter to promote a ‘pink revolution,’ the export of meat, instead of making effort to revive the crumbling economy,” Mr. Modi said.

After the rally for Mr. Modi in Patna last month, where bombs killed several people and injured over 80, the Gujarat chief minister was probably concerned about provoking more violence, said Avinash H.S., a political commentator based in Bangalore….

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