NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, which will be held early next year, Mallikarjun Kharge, the new AICC president, has conveyed to the state leadership that they should start preparing for the elections in full swing.
After visiting the state recently, Kharge was received with garlands and shawls; however, he emphasised that his true felicitation from the state’s party executives would be when they l bring him the majority mark in the Assembly elections. A source privy to developments in the state said, Kharge has nudged the state leadership to work unitedly and asserted the need for working from the booth level. A source close to the leadership quoted Kharge as saying, “We have to go door-to-door and tell people what the difference between the BJP and Congress is, and what the party has done for the nation in the last 70 years, and we also have to tell them what BJP is doing. You have to get me the state.” The party is caught in the political battle between the two leaders, Siddaramaiah and D.K. Shivakumar, with both nursing aspirations to become the CM face. Party leaders say that Kharge knows who is who in the state and knowing that the party is going through such a sensitive phase, Kharge will not try to favour anybody and go by merit in a way that he will allow both the factions to work in their way as long as everything is peaceful. Shah Nizamudin, Congress Karnataka spokesperson, said, “In Karnataka, there is nothing that needs to be done; it is just that we need to constantly stay united, and raise the issues of the people. The Congress just needs to continue to strengthen where it has lost two or three times in the last three-four elections, and then start working on it. We all have started working in those areas, also, we need to focus on the seats that we have lost by 10,000 to 15000 votes in the last election, and that can change the entire game plan, because today the sentiment of the people is anti-BJP.” He added, “Anti-incumbency has set in deep in people’s minds. The BJP has a certain sure-shot vote bank, which will not change; however, the swing voters who are on the fence, I think we need to start focusing on them. We need to have discussions with people at the panchayat level, have corner and chaupal meets in villages in the next four months.”