Will win Karnataka polls, don’t want to waste this opportunity: DKS

A good show in the last few polls, including the Legislative Council polls from the Teachers and Graduates constituencies, has helped boost the morale of Congress leaders.

Published: 03rd July 2022 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2022 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar (Photo | EPS)

Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: A good show in the last few polls, including the Legislative Council polls from the Teachers and Graduates constituencies, has helped boost the morale of Congress leaders. KPCC president DK Shivakumar, who was in New Delhi earlier this week to discuss the party strategy with senior leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, said the party is confident of coming to power in the state, and they do not want to lose this opportunity. Excerpts.

Ex-AICC president Rahul Gandhi held extensive discussions with you and ex-chief minister Siddaramaiah in Delhi for two days. What was discussed?
The All-India Congress Committee conducted a detailed survey on the current status of the party, strengths, weaknesses, issues to be taken up and the government’s failures that we need to highlight. It also looked at promises made by the government, but not fulfilled. All these issues were discussed in detail. Some sections of society that had moved away from the party are now gravitating towards us. Our numbers are improving and our leaders are confident that we will have our government in the state without any other party’s support. We don’t want to lose this opportunity and we will go to the elections under collective leadership.

What are the challenges and strategies?
The strategy will depend on the needs and mood of the people. People have lost faith in the government. Teachers and Graduates constituencies (in the Council elections) consist of educated voters. The educated people in Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan and Belagavi voted for Congress. In local body constituencies (in the council elections), we did not have Mandya, Tumakuru and Kolar. We won all these seats. Even elected representatives voted for us. These are big signs of victory for Congress. We have done well in all the by-elections and we have to maintain that momentum. Corruption is high in Karnataka, and the state’s image has taken a hit. The Congress will give good governance in the state.

There has been a lot of talk about Congress’ internal survey. What are the findings?
It is a detailed survey that looked at issues region-wise. AICC had done own survey and from the Pradesh Congress Committee, I also got one done. We are comfortable with our numbers.

In the run-up to the polls, what are the issues the party will take up?
Every day, common people are being harassed. While their income is reducing, prices are skyrocketing. Job losses are big. Even after Covid, there is no improvement. The government is discouraging MGNREGA that helps generate employment in villages and also take up some development work. They are now asking for thumb impressions (of people working under MGNREGA) morning and evening. They are harassing the common people, including MGNREGA workers. We will take up all the issues.

Is there a competition between Siddaramaiah and you for the CM’s post?
There is no such thing and we all first want the party to come to power. If the media or the other parties are indeed talking about such a competition, that means there is a feeling among people that Congress is coming to power.

The Basavaraj Bommai government will complete one year in office later this month (July 28).  How do you look at the government’s performance?
In one year, they could not make a mark in any area except in corruption. In every taluk, panchayat and other offices, every post is purchased. It is almost like fixing idli and dosa prices in hotels. People have to pay for appointments, postings and transfers. When was the situation this bad?

In Chintan Shivir, there was a discussion on “One Family One Ticket”. Will that be implemented in the Assembly polls?
Let’s see. Many people have worked for the party and we have to respect them. We groom our leaders and some of them are important. We have to look at all aspects.

Why is Congress hitting the streets protesting against the Enforcement Directorate action against its leaders, instead of fighting it legally?
They are using these agencies for their political gains. Such cases are registered only against leaders of Congress and other opposition parties, but not against any BJP leader. They want to shut our mouth by using ED, CBI and Income Tax departments. Fifty per cent of officers within these agencies too disapprove of such action, but they have to follow instructions from their masters.

You took out a big rally demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project. What next?
I was expecting Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to make an announcement on the project during his visit to Karnataka (on Friday), but it was not done. It is not enough that the government allotted Rs 1,000 crore for the project in the budget, they have to get an NOC and start the work. Let the government take an all-party delegation to Delhi.



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