Bengaluru: Congress party veteran, M. Mallikarjuna Kharge, who has often been spoken of as the state’s Dalit Chief Minister in-waiting, made his displeasure clear on Wednesday at his caste being brought into play for the position.
Speaking to reporters here, he said he would not be happy if the party made him Chief Minister only because he was a Dalit. “Why is the media hell-bent on portraying me as a Dalit leader? I am a loyal Congressman, who has worked for the party for the last five decades. I would rather see myself as a senior Congressman than be associated with any caste or religion. I also want the people, especially the media, to honour my feelings,” he stressed in response to a section of the media talking of him as the next Dalit Chief Minister of the state should the BJP fail to muster the required number of seats in the December 5 byelections.
Mr Kharge pointed out that this had been his stand for several years. “Whenever the Dalit CM issue cropped up, I reacted the same way. Even during the last Assembly elections, when my name cropped up, I responded similarly. What more do you (media) want me to clarify on this issue? Whenever the party wishes to give me any opportunity, I want it because I am a Congressman and not because of any community. The Chief Minister’s post is not a trophy to be given to a community, bur an honour given by the party in recognition of the services of a leader,” he underlined.
In response to a question, Mr Kharge said the Congress would perform even beyond its own expectations in the byelections owing to the public outcry against the disqualified legislators. “This will certainly throw open new equations and again in such a scenario, it will be upto the party high command to decide the future course of action,” he added.