Exit polls and political analysts give the Congress party the advantage in the forthcoming Karnataka assembly elections. However, the party has been facing issues in trying to keep its house in order.
The protests outside the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee office during ticket distribution were a public embarrassment.
The party is also divided in ranks over who would become the chief minister in case the party comes to power.
In an interview with rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Karnataka PCC President Dr G Parameshwar rubbishes reports of infighting in the party. He predicts that the Congress will win 120 seats in Karnataka.
Are you confident of winning the assembly elections with a comfortable majority?
Yes. We are confident and as per our calculations, we will have 120 seats in our kitty. Apart from a lot of factors that are favouring us, we conducted a region-wise survey that indicates that we will win with a comfortable margin.
The Congress has its own set of problems. Will that affect your prospects in any way?
We have always ensured that problems such as these are sorted out at the earliest. There may have been some issues, but when we face the people we will stand united in the interest of the people.
I read reports about a rift between party leaders over the distribution of tickets. There is no such difference and we will all campaign together. Do not get swayed by such news; it is a ploy by our opponents to show that we are on a weak footing.
Why was there such a ruckus outside the Congress office when the candidates were being decided?
I do not deny that there were too many aspirants this time. All of them sense that the Congress will come to power and hence wanted to be part of the government. This is the main reason for this rush. It was a tough job, but we ensured that we picked the best. All of them are winning candidates.
Would naming a chief ministerial candidate hurt the Congress?
The Congress has never named a candidate ahead of the elections. It causes unnecessary rifts. After the elections, we will all abide by the decision of the party high command. It has always been the strategy of our party not to declare the candidate ahead of the elections. We believe in having a combined leadership in which everyone fights the elections on a united front.
Is the Congress adopting a negative campaign? What I mean is whether the failures of the BJP are being highlighted more than what the Congress aims to achieve?
The Congress is not adopting any negative campaign. We are working right from the grass root level and are meeting people from all parts of the state. We are highlighting the achievements of both UPA 1 and UPA 2. However, I would not say that the failure of the BJP has not helped us at all. The people are fed up with them. They were given many chances, but there was more infighting and corruption.
What are your thoughts on the B S Yeddyurappa quitting the BJP?
The decision by Yeddyurappa to float a new party will affect the BJP the most. He will eat into party’s vote bank. The Congress has a different set of voters and the decision of Yeddyurappa will not affect us. The case of B Sriramulu in Bellary too is quite similar. He too will eat into the BJP votes only.
Do you see the Janata Dal-Secular as a threat?
The JD-S is a party which has limited reach and they would make an impact in around six districts in Karnataka.
What would the Congress manifesto look like?
We will have a different plan for urban and rural areas. Power and irrigation will be our primary concerns for the rural areas. We also would like to give industries a push and hope to introduce a single window system for the same. We are also proposing to link the rural roads to national highways. In the urban areas we would like to focus on infrastructure and also continue to support Information Technology in a big way.