Kalaburagi: As his dad Mallikarjun Kharge braces for the strongest poll fight of his career, Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge in an interview with DC, denied reports that his dizzy ascent had anything to do with the revolt in the Kalaburagi Congress with senior leaders deserting the party.
Asserting that Congress MLA Dr Umesh Jadhav who is tipped to take on his father in Kalaburagi in the coming polls, had quit the party for personal gain, Priyank said, "They (rivals) cannot claim my dad practises caste or religion based politics or that he is involved in a scam. So I am an easy target."
How do you perceive the fight between Mr Mallikarjun Kharge and Dr Umesh Jadhav? Do you think Dr Jadhav is strong enough to pose a serious threat?
This Mr Kharge 12th election and no election can be taken lightly. The day you think in politics, you know everything and can manage everything that is the last day, the end of the career. We don’t take any elections quite seriously. We are here to fight the elections. Irrespective of the stature of his political opponents, Mr Kharge has fought his elections quite seriously and this has been one of the major reasons for his success so far.
But considering the previous do you think this is the tough one? Or....
No, this perception is more to do with your hype. There should be some solid reason why people should be against Mr Kharge. Is he not development oriented? Does he practice religion-based politics? Is he corrupt? Does he divide and rule? When the answer is no for these questions, why people should oppose him?. He has been working for the good of the people of Kalaburagi and there should be no reason why this election should be an uphill task for him.
Some of the big leaders in BJP now who strongly opposing Mr Kharge are the ones who were earlier in Congress. Do you think these leaders can challenge the leadership of Mr Kharge or their opposition is merely a storm in the teacup?
I don’t think they are threat at all. Some leaders have left us and gone and certain leaders have also joined us. Let us not merely talk about numbers. Some leaders in Afzalpur left us and tell me how well did we fare when they were with us? Not a single time we got a lead (in Afzalpur Assembly constituency in the Lok Sabha election). So what difference does it make? We don’t need us leaders who made us lag behind in the Lok Sabha polls. We have Mr M Y Patil, who is our MLA and this time we are confident of getting lead in Afzalpur constituency, which we never got in the last ten years. Let us not look at elections not through narrow prism of people and going, let us look at them from the point of how the communities vote this time, what is in favour of Mr Kharge etc. Few leaders won’t decide his fate, people of Kalaburagi will decide his fate.
Although the outcome of an election does not depend upon mere arithmetics. But going by the ground situation, it appears that the BJP with four MLAs of the total eight, will pose a threat ...
Why I stated this is ..if you look at the career graph of Mr Kharge the percentage of votes secured by him has gone up from election to election right from 1972.The reason being that in each election he has got wider acceptance. And that acceptance has been due to his performance and his nature of taking everybody along with him. This time also his votes per centage will increase from the previous ones.
There is a debate that Dr Jadhav has ditched Congress for his personal gains rather than for ideological reasons.
Definitely you can’t change your ideology midway.All I’m saying is look at how the events have happened during the last one and a half months.. a few legislators disappeared.. audio tape surfaces where they are saying they are bribing...you say you were not with the BJP leaders in Mumbai, but a photo of your with Dr Ashwathnarayana surfaces...what inference should we draw? There was rumour in Kalaburagi that Dr Jadhav has been sold for Rs 50 crore ..Then your resignation to Congress. Two plus to two cannot be five.
There is a perception that you have become an Achille’s heel for Mr Kharge in this election due to your appointment as a minister..
No No...this has been said by whom? My opponents. And I cannot expect praise from my opponents? The leaders who have left(Congress) and gone merely on their personal agenda are levelling these charges. They need lame excuses? Can they say Mr Kharge is not development oriented? Practice caste or relion based practice?Is he involved in any scam. So I have become the easy target. And my arguement is let put all these people together in one basket and me in another and weigh us...let us compare an apple to apple. If you are accusing somebody, you should be ready for receiving accusations as well. Dr Jadhav targeted me before he left..let us debate Dr Jadhav’s contribution to party and my contributions. How many I have spent in organisation and how many years he has spent. I have given 20 years of my life to party, where as Dr Jadhav straight away came and became an MLA. Now they are talking that I have parachuted...I have not been parachuted.. infact he is a parachuted candidate. I stood in college elections and contested in the youth Congress. So what are they talking about? So this narrative is best not write up by them because they nothing to showcase about their contributions to the party.