BENGALURU: The spontaneous response that the Congress leaders are getting is a clear indication that the party will get a majority to form the government in the state, said leader of Congress party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. According to him, it’s a fight between a party that makes empty promises and another that fulfils promises made to people. Excerpts from an interview:
What is your assessment of the situation?
I have travelled most parts of the state and spontaneous public response across the state is a clear indication that we will get a majority to form government. People are coming on their own, voluntarily and participating in Congress events.
What are the key factors working for Congress?
This election is to save Constitution and democracy as many BJP leaders often talk about amending the Constitution. The BJP has no concern for the welfare of people from the SCs and STs. The Congress government in the state implemented all promises made in the manifesto and there is no anti-incumbency factor working against it. In fact, many welfare measures that were not part of the manifesto too were implemented. The government took many initiatives like waiver of farm loans, waiver of housing loans taken by SC/ST families, budget allocation in proportion to the population of the SC/STs. PM Modi kept `54,000 for the entire country, while Karnataka government alone kept nearly Rs 28,000 crore for SC/ST welfare. People in Hyderabad- Karnataka have got benefit after special status was accorded under Article 371J. We have the courage to tell people that we have delivered and appeal them to reward us.
The PM is campaigning in the state like the way he did in Gujarat.
Modi is campaigning and projecting himself as if he wants to become the Chief Minister of Karnataka. He promised many things like bringing back black money, depositing `15 lakh in accounts, and two crore jobs every year, but nothing has been done. Instead, prices of petrol and diesel increased despite the reduction in crude oil prices in the international market. In last three years, there was a huge reduction in crude oil prices, but why they did not pass on the benefit to consumers?
Do you think Modi won’t be a factor in Karnataka elections?
He only talks and what is the work done by him? We are telling people that we have done the work and asking them to vote for us. He is only accusing the Congress of practicing dynasty politics, but his own party has given tickets to two to three members from one family.
Most pre-poll surveys predict hung assembly. If that happens will Congress go with JD (S)?
The JD (S) leaders may be trying to create such an impression as they want to become kingmakers. BJP is also talking about Congress not getting the majority, but they are not confident of getting majority though they talk about making Yeddyurappa the CM. There has to be some basis for BJP’s claims. Under Siddaramaiah’s leadership, Congress government fulfilled promises made to people and the UPA too had taken several initiatives for the welfare of people.
BJP is accusing Congress of corruption and promising clean government?
BJP that talks about clean government is projecting a leader who had gone to jail as its CM candidate. BJP has also given tickets to those who had gone to jail and the party now calls them honest politicians. Amit Shah claimed Janardhana Reddy is not associated with the party, but Reddy’s brothers and their associates are given tickets. He is even campaigning. People have already experienced the BJP government in the state. In five years, you gave three CMs and your leaders went to jail. What moral authority you have to talk about clean government?