Elections

‘Modi is challenging me as he knows I’ll create trouble for him’

Anil Urs Kalaburgi | Updated on April 21, 2019 Published on April 21, 2019

Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge is Solillada Sardara, that is, a leader who has not tasted defeat. Rightly, because he has won Assembly elections nine times, and Lok Sabha polls twice. He is in the fray for this Lok Sabha election, too. In an interview to BusinessLine, Kharge shared his views on upcoming elections. Excerpts

Having faced many elections, what is the difference you are seeing this time around?

After facing these many elections and serving people these many years, I see an ideological difference cropping up this time around. If you see, we are fighting the elections and our agenda is to maintain secularism in the country. Apart from this, we have to protect our country, countrymen, neglected people, minority sections, economically weaker sections (EWS), women, farmers and our Constitution and democracy.

Here it is my duty. If any government goes beyond the Constitution, it’s our right to oppose them. Currently, our country needs democracy... But what is going on under the rule of Narendra Modi is ‘dictator-democracy’. We need to understand that the base of our country is multi-culturalism and each and every State has its own problem and issues. So, the ‘dictator-democracy’ format is not appropriate. Even if you see their election campaign idea, it talks about ‘Phir Ek Baar Modi’ and not ‘Phir ek baar BJP’. It means that he does not believe in party but believes in himself.

Why is the BJP targeting you... even Prime Minister Narendra Modi came down to Kalaburgi Constituency to address a rally?

He (Modi) is challenging me because he knows I am going to create a lot of trouble for him and his party. I think you have already seen him mentioning my name in one of the sessions of Parliament recently.

The whole decision is in the hands of countrymen and not him. They have full right to vote and to whom they want to vote they are free to vote. So, I believe the people have their power to choose their candidate for the Lok Sabha and not Modi.

... Modi and his team are planning, plotting and planting baseless stories against me to destroy me and my party’s image. I personally believe that instead of wasting time to identify who planted such things, it is better to focus on the development of our constituency.

I am requesting the Election Commission to conduct free and fair elections and check the EVM machines before and after the installation at the booths before allowing a voter to cast his or her vote.

The BJP has wooed people you had groomed to contest against you...

You see, former Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav is not from my constituency. Malikayya Guttedar is from a different constituency and he has never given any lead to me and as far as Baburao Chinchansur is concerned, I myself gave him the chance to fight from the place where I had served as an MLA for past 37 years. So, I do not want to mention their names as they are great and good people, who served the nation at their best level and left us only recently... just three-four months ago. So, I do not want to make a heated argument of why they left us.

What are the achievement you are putting before the voters in this ideological election?

I think an ideological war is different from what people’s problem are and how we resolve it. People’s satisfaction and trust must be visible. You can see the development works clearly in terms of hospitals, national highway projects, schools, skill development institutions, farmers issues addressed by us and many more. Currently, if you have observed the wave of Modi, the message they are trying to fix in people’s mind is we are not patriotic people and they are the only ones who are saviours. If they think they will stop me, then other Kharges’ (people like me) will join and fight against them surely.

You see, the promises made by Modi have not been fulfilled. His promises include generating at least two crore jobs which has not been generated so far. He said that he would give ₹500 to each and every farmer but do you think ₹500 is enough to run one farmer family?

Published on April 21, 2019
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