He has been a chief minister-in-waiting for quite some time. The post has eluded him twice in the past and this time too, for a brief period, his name was doing the rounds.
Mallikarjuna Kharge, Union labour and employment minister and former home minister of Karnataka, has joined the Congress campaign for the upcoming assembly elections putting to rest all speculation of a rift in the party.
In this interview with Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Kharge says that he is not an aspirant to the chair of the chief minister, but also adds that the final decision would be with the party high command.
Are you confident of winning the elections in Karnataka this time?
Yes, we are confident and we have a very good chance. The people will give us a clear mandate.
There is a lot of confusion regarding the chief ministerial candidate in the Congress and other parties have dared you to announce the same.
There is no confusion and the leader has not yet been decided. The elections will be fought on a united plank. We are not a regional party where one person can take a decision. The candidate will be decided by the high command, and after the elections if all the MLAs are agreeable then that candidate would be the CM.
What about you sir, are you an aspirant?
I will not stake a claim. I am not in any race. My job is to see my party through, and as a worker of the party I will just do my work. I have never sought any posts and have only worked for the party.
Other leaders such as Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah say that they are in the race for the post of CM.
I would not want to comment on that. The high command will decide.
It was said that you were miffed that your son was not given a seat?
That is not true.
Is the strategy of the Congress only to expose the BJP during these elections?
There is no doubt that we will expose the BJP. Our manifesto will focus on the corruption in the BJP government and how good governance was not provided.
However, our main focus would be on providing good governance, better irrigation, roads and measures for the weaker sections apart from bettering the infrastructure.
Image: Mallikarjuna Kharge