Congress to save democracy at any cost: Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge

All India Congress Committee (AICC) President MallikarjunKharge, during an interview with NewsX, shares his views about a host of issues, including Opposition unity, Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the LokSabha and the upcoming Assembly elections in Karnataka.
Q. The state of Karnataka is in poll mode amid Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from the LokSabha. What have you to say on this?
A. I have already consulted Rahul Gandhi over this issue and as the party believes in the judiciary of the country, he is likely to get some relief from the upper court. But see the speed of what happened. The judgement regarding Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification was delivered and soon after that, he was disqualified from the LokSabha and was asked to vacate his official residence. The government wanted to muzzle the Opposition’s voice and that was why, everything was done with lightning speed. The ruling dispensation does not want to discuss Opposition’s issues like Adani, rising inflation, unemployment, etc.
Q. You have KCR from Telengana and Nitish Kumar from Bihar. How will you bring these two stalwarts together for the upcoming poll combinations?
A. Wherever I find chance to bring leaders on a common platform, I do that. I personally invite them to my residence, hold joint press conference with them. It is always not about who will become the next Prime Minister of the country. It is all about protecting democracy and safeguarding people’s interest and for this, we are fully committed. Our first target is to defeat an autocratic party and its leader- an indirect reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Regarding Karnataka polls, we are working on a common minimum programme and as far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned, he is the tallest leader of our party (Congress). For the last three/four years, our workers have been visiting every nook and corner of the state and highlighting government’s failures. That is why, Congress is called the Grand Old Party.
Q. Do you see Lingayats are shifting to your party, a good sign for the coming Karnataka Assembly polls?
A. I cannot say this but they are fed up with the BJP rule as it has become synonymous with corruption, unemployment and rising inflation. That is why, they are not filling up nearly 28, 29, 000 vacancies.Kalyana Karnataka is not being implemented properly and no money has been released so far. This government has also created confusion in the minds of electorates on the issue of reservation.
When we brought Food Security ACT, Opposition said it is not possible. When we introduced Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA), Opposition doubted its credibility but with the passage of time, it became clear that these schemes have changed the life of common people.