Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief G Parameshwar discusses the upcoming urban local body polls with Rajashekara S
Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls were a shocker to all parties. Are you really prepared for this. How big is this challenge to the Congress.
Yes, the ULB polls are rather unexpected. These elections were slated to be held in December. The government was not willing to conduct these elections. We were relaxed as far as the ULB elections were concerned and had focused our energies on the Assembly polls.
Considering the number of aspirants for the ULB polls, what are your plans to stem dissidence?
Dissidence will be an issue for all the parties. It could be more in the Congress as there will be demand for tickets. I have asked all our senior leaders to take responsibility in their districts to ensure unity.
Do you think that the outcome of the polls will be an indicator for the Assembly elections?
Definitely, it is an indicator, but to what extent we have to take it is the question. Only urban voters are involved in these polls; and the mind set of urban and rural voters differs. We will definitely see some kind of a test, but we can’t say the same will be repeated in the Assembly polls.
What is the main poll plank of the Congress?
We will bring stability, we will be accountable and we will ensure progress and give clean governance. There is no governance in the state under the BJP.
There are reports that some sections of the party want to patch up between you and Siddaramaiah. Is it true?
This is untrue. We never had differences and we are working together to strengthen the party. In fact, we are going to sit together and decide candidates for the Assembly polls. Some vested interests are spreading such rumours for their gains.
The BJP and the JD(S) have already announced their CM candidates. Who will be the Congress nominee? Already Siddaramaiah and Mallikharjun Kharge have made their ambitions clear. Are you also in the race?
I do not wish to answer this question. There is no tradition in the Congress to project a Chief Minister. This is normally decided by the party high command when we get a clear majority. I have asked our leaders not to talk about this and focus on bringing the party to power. As the president I do not want to say anything. The party believes in collective leadership and the rest will be decided by the high command.
Given the number of contenders for the top post, can the Congress present a united front and run a coherent campaign?
We have a strong central high command and everyone has to listen. If somebody says he will not listen, then it’s a different matter. Already Sonia Gandhi on more than one occasion has asked party leaders to put up a united front and ensure party’s victory.
Do the big names in the party take you seriously? How far your writ runs?
I think that everyone listens to me. Individually, my personality doesn’t matter. It is the KPCC president who matters and not Parameshwar. I hope everyone will cooperate.
Was there any moment that you experienced helplessness or when none is listening to you?
I never felt helpless, but at times I thought it is becoming tough. One cannot always be disappointed. Many a time my decisions are not taken seriously.
I suggested about six months back to tour all 224 Assembly Constituencies. By this time we could have finished it and the situation could have been different. Some took it seriously while others suspected whether it can be done or not. Then I was disappointed a bit. But immediately, we reworked the plan and decided to go to districts and organise target group conventions.
Who are these people resisting you?
I don’t want to name them.
There is a talk that the Congress has a secret pact with BS Yeddyurappa’s KJP like how there are reports of the BJP and the JD(S) sharing similar equations. Elaborate.
We never had any discussions or understanding with the KJP - pre poll or post poll. Why do we visualise a situation to join hands with them to for the government. Our target is to form government on our own.
Assuming that the Congress will emerge as the single largest party in case of a hung Assembly, who would you prefer to align with — JD(S) or the KJP?
I don’t think that we will get a hung Assembly this time. People are fed up with the BJP and the earlier coalition. People are entitled for a stable government and back the Congress.
Is SM Krishna Sulking?
I don’t think he is sulking. He needs rest. He has been taken into the CWC. Being a former CM, he knows political mindset and landscape of the state. I personally feel he should be part of our election process. He will be given major responsibility. What and how, the high command will decide.