Exuding confidence that the Congress is going to form the next government in Karnataka, which is going to polls on May 10, Chittapur MLA and former minister Priyank Kharge says the aim is to bring back the glory of the state with respect to investments and generating employment opportunities.
According to him, the people of Karnataka have already evaluated the performance of the ruling BJP government. ”Contractors association, a lot of BJP MLAs and Ministers themselves have evaluated it. This (BJP government in Karnataka) is called a ’40 per cent commission’ by them and not by the Congress. Religious heads have given performance report card. And the Congress is just merely echoing the sentiments of the people,” Priyank Kharge said.
”The Congress will come to power. AICC President (Mallikarjun Kharge) and our leader Rahul Gandhi have very clearly told us that we need to get 150 seats. And we will get 150 seats,” Priyank Kharge told PTI in response to a question on the Congress’ prospects in the ensuing polls.
Asked how important the Assembly elections were ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Priyank Kharge said Karnataka is a very important state not only for the Congress but for the country as well.
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”We are the economic powerhouse as well. One of the few states that contributes maximum to the Central government and we cannot allow the system to rot over here. It will have a great impact not only for Karnataka but also for the nation itself. We cannot have a UP (Uttar Pradesh) model. The Karnataka model is the best model available,” he asserted.
”It is very very important –preservation of the Constitution, we are not ready to be the laboratory of Hindutva, which is a regressive ideology. We want to get that glory of Karnataka back with respect to investments, generating employment opportunities. We are known as a progressive state and the idea is to remain a progressive state,” he added.
Asked if the forthcoming Assembly polls were also a prestige battle for the grand old party with his father M Mallikarjun Kharge, who hails from Kalaburagi district, at its helm as the national President, Priyank Kharge noted: ”I don’t think this is a battle of prestige. It is a battle to save the idea of India. This is the battle to save the Constitution and this is a battle to save Karnataka from complete deterioration.”
According to him, it is not a question of a battle between Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and Mallikarjun Kharge. It is a battle between two ideologies- the ideology that can destroy India and the ideology that can build India-, he said. Priyank Kharge, who is seeking a third consecutive term from Chittapur is banking on the development works carried out by him in the constituency to win the elections even as he sharply targeted his opponent BJP’s Manikanth Rathod, accusing the saffron party of insulting the people of Chittapur by nominating a ”history-sheeter.”
”I am confident that the work I have done in (Chittapur segment) has been appreciated by the people. We stand for the development of the constituency. I am sure that they will elect me because the BJP candidate (contesting in Chittapur) has 40 cases against him. And that is the candidate the BJP thinks is the best possible choice for the people of Chittapur. They have insulted the people (of Chittapur) by nominating such a candidate. We have always done only development politics and not divisive politics,” he added.
On the BJP targeting the Congress over dynasty politics, Priyank Kharge hit back at BJP and said ”We are ready to debate. Let us talk about it,” as he sought to know whether the BJP was ready for it.