HIGHLIGHTS | Mallikarjun Kharge in conversation with DH

Mallikarjun Kharge, 10-time Gulbarga constituency winner, long-standing member of the Indian National Congress and current leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, speaks with Deccan Herald ahead of the high-profile 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The drama quotient is high and DH Political Theatre will be where the action is, as always. As part of our digital coverage, we are bringing you a series of live interactions with political leaders of national and regional importance.
  • 14thMar 16:04

    WATCH | Mallikarjun Kharge in conversation with Deccan Herald

  • 17:35

    Can Siddaramaiah be made CM again?

    Now there is a coalition government in the state. Currently, we are focused on winning the Lok Sabha polls. Let us not talk about that now and focus all our energies on that.

    I convey my condolences and prayers over the death of Maate Mahadevi.

    I thank the organisers for giving me this opportunity to interact with various people.

  • 17:30

    There are allegations that you aligned with Siddaramaiah to make your son a minister.

    In fact, I told High Command not to give him the ticket during the by-polls.

    But many top leaders questioned that despite being ministers why are you afraid of fielding your children against a BJP govt?

    That is when my son came into the politics.

    Then also 'You' (Media) have asked the questions on why you are not fielding your son, now you are again asking a question in this way!

    I have not converted to Buddhism but I follow Buddha, Basava and all others.

    If I have converted to Buddhism, I would have obtained SC certificate to contest polls.

    In fact, when the President of India invoked the words of Basavananna about eight prime qualities of a human being, I immediately told him that the present PM has not at all followed in his footsteps.

  • 17:21

    In Gulbarga, I have trusted my voters all these days. If they have decided to give me one more chance, then nothing can stop me. It is not that who comes to campaign on behalf of me. It all comes down to the voters whom I have trusted all. Also, I have delivered on my promises. Got Central University, medical college. besides several infrastructural works.

    I have set up skill development centres in Gulbarga and Bengaluru when I was a labour minister.

    This time, all the forces have come together to defeat you...

    I agree that all my bete noires have come together. But what matters is what you have done to the people. If people continue to acknowledge what you have delivered, then nobody can defeat me.

    In 11 months tenure as Railway Minister, I have introduced more than 25 train services crisscrossing Karnataka and connecting the state with other destinations of India.

  • 17:16

    Emotional Exploitation V/S Developmental narrative. Will it succeed?

    Exploiting people through their emotions will not take you anywhere. What happened when demonetisation was announced and how many died then.

    I believe that people are also mature enough to take note of development and take not of it.

    Some of our programmes are unique and better than those that are conceptualised by NDA. But we have failed to market them to the people.

    Previously also there were wars with our neighbours. We have defeated Pakistan thrice. In no point then we have asked votes in the name of war.

    Congress has ceded a couple of sitting seats to JDS.

    I am not in the screening committee and I can not comment on this.We will try to convince our leaders who have lost their seats in the coalition.

  • 16:51

    Between Priyanka and Rahul, who would you favour?

    You are again trying to divide us.

    Rahul Gandhi is our President and our leader. We are all working to bring the party to the power under his leadership. Let us achieve this first.

    I agree that Priyanka is also a leader and she has joined us in our fight.

    No matter how much ever we have progressed, we are divided into caste lines which is affecting our progress.

    Your aspiration is different. Sometimes you need to keep aside your aspiration. If you pursue your aspiration, then the party will get the damage.

    Regardless of my aspirations, if my party when in Power serves the people I am satisfied.

    When Congress and JDS decided on the coalition pact, my name was proposed for CM post. But this is not the right time to talk about this.

    Within Dalit, there is again division like LEFT and RIGHT?

    I once again appeal to all that we should not divide any community and not even the Dalits. You align with whichever party that suits your ideology. Instead, if you go on dividing people, then no one will achieve anything.

    The poverty in India has a social background attached to it. The poverty of a Dalit is different from the poverty of some other class. It has to be dealt in a different way and both cannot be seen alike.

    Reservation among Dalits was first experimented in Andhra Pradesh. Based on this anybody can take any political decision. But based on the outcome of these one cannot divide the community and rule it.

    First, we need Majority. In my party, I have already said Rahul Gandhi as our PM.

    If I say anything now, it would be premature.

    If all seniors decide and take a call, then it will be a different call.

    We will fight polls based on the false promises of NDA. Whatever they said in their manifesto have not been complied till date.

    Several of Modi's programmes are a mere copy-cat of previous UPA govt. In fact, he rebuked some of the flagship programmes of UPA like Right To Education, MNREGA, etc.

    In fact, there were more pro-people programmes during UPA than it was announced and implemented under this NDA govt.

  • 16:44

    Is Rahul Gandhi a match for Narendra Modi?

    You give us a chance and will prove it.

    Prior to 2014 elections, Modi had served as CM of Gujarat for 13 years. You pull out his achievements. He is a clever marketing man and knows how to sell his services and products.

    But that market has now no takers. Can you tell me in what way Rahul is less than Modi?

    He is going across the country and meeting cross-section of people and interacting with all.

    Why were you not proposed for PM post?

    It is not like that. Even in BJP, there was Advani. Has he been made PM?

    We have come to politics and joined a political party only to bring about a change and achieve inclusive growth.We may not succeed 100%, but we can bring about change in a small way.

    I have done it when I have had previously served as Education Minister, Revenue minister.

    If you have a political will, you can do it and it is not necessary that you will serve only when you are given certain positions.

  • 16:42

    A PM has to have a foresightedness. He had promised that 80 lakh crore black money parked outside will be brought back and 15 lakh will be credited into everybody's account?

    Where is the action? Modipromised to create 2 cr jobs every year.Has he done so?

    BJP failed to implement the MSP

    If you compare what UPA achieved in MSP and what NDA achieved, there is a 100% difference.

  • 16:40

    There were allegations that UPA PM Manmohan Singh never opened his mouth. But now you are telling that Modi never speaks?

    Recently while talking about the President's speech, I spoke at length in a comparative manner.

    But all papers around the world hardly gave publicity to our speech and everybody said Singh and Kharge spokeless.

    Everybody target Congress for enforcing Emergency. But today we live in an undeclared emergency.

    A few publications are facing the heat.

    Perhaps tomorrow you may also face the heat for your harsh, sharp and critical editorials of his decisions and policies.

    I keep reading your editorials and centre page articles which are very critical and people-centric.

  • 16:31

    On Modi's absence from Parliament & his attitude

    Is this attitude because of work pressure?

    Parliament is meant for accountability. One needs to be transparent and need to answer the parliament which is the supreme body. If he could watch the proceedings of the Lok Sabha in TV inside his office, why can not he come out and reply to the House?

    Previously we have seen several PMs who have been democratic in their working style. despite the work pressure, they all have come and answered the Parliament.

    Sitting in silence all through the session and replying to all questions in just one speech towards the end and walking out is not a good attitude of a leader.

    I have seen such sycophancy from close quarters. Such negligence and casual attitude is not called for. This kind of arrogance comes when one thinks that everything is because of him. Such ego is eating away the democratic principles.

  • 16:22

    Kharge on the current political scenario & Modi

    You have seen Indira Gandhi, Vajpayee and Modi. What are the strengths and weakness of Modi?

    I have not just encountered Modi in Lok Sabha but on several occasions, I have come one to one with Modi.What I have observed about him is that he will not take out any subject or initiate discussion on his own.

    Also, he does not confront anyone to make his point registered. Instead, he makes his officials comment and initiate debates.He does not look into your eyes and talk to make his point clear.

    If I say any negative or suggestion, he would only say 'Theek Hai' and there ends the discussion or meetings.The same is the situation in Parliament as well where he refuses to answer when other ministers are eager to answer.

    He also does not acknowledge the presence of veterans and seniors like LK Advani. Forget about other parties, he doesn't even wish his own party leaders. No matter how much ever tall you are, one shall respect the elders and seniors.

    All of these are out of my experience with Modi as I have seen him from close quarters.

  • 16:13

    Kharge on his political journey

    I thank the Deccan Herald & Prajavani for giving me an opportunity to present my views to the nation.

    I forayed into politics because of my affiliation to certain ideologies and how they can be implemented in real life to bring about a change in society. This is why I entered politics.

    When I was in 8th standardI had come across lack of literacy, unemployment and other plaguing problems in the society. All these prompted me towards the ideologies of Dr BR Ambedkar, Phule and others.

    Thereafter I got into student movements, became office bearer and later began practising law.

    In late 1960s Congress divided and subsequently, then PM Indira Gandhi's 10 Point programme was announced.

    It had a tremendous impact on my personality. All these pro-development issues and ideologies prompted me to start from grassroots and entered as a full-time Congressman in 1969.

    In less than two years I was elected as an MLA and till date, people of Gulbarga have been reposing their faith in me and constantly electing me.

    Accordingly, I have handled several portfolios to the best of my capabilities at both the centre and state.

    Wherever I go I have strongly strived to achieve social justice and provide services to the needy.

    Power is not about occupying a position but how you help people when you are given power.

  • 16:09

    Welcome, all to the fifth edition of DH Political Theatre. Today, we have Leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha & senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

  • 15:31

    Watch Mallikarjun Kharge in conversation with Deccan Herald at 4 pm today

  • 15:25

    A brief history of Mallikarjun Kharge

    Mallikarkjun Kharge, born 21 July 1942 as Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge, is a senior politician and leader of the Congress party.

    He started his career from a Government College in Gulbarga, where he pursued a Bachelor of Arts, and then went on to acquire a degree in Law from Seth Shankarlal Lahoti Law College in Gulbarga.

    Kharge's entry into politics started at an early age with his election to the post of General Secretary of the students' body of the Government College. In 1969, he formally entered the Congress and became the president of the Gulbarga City Congress Committee.

    As a long-standing member of the Congress, Kharge has acquired significant victories for the party and has held a record of 10 consecutive victories in the Gulbarga district, including the 2014 general elections which saw the rise of Modi and the BJP as the ruling party. He currently serves as the leader of the Indian National Congress in the 16th Lok Sabha. In the past, he has held the posts of Minister of Labour and Employment and Minister of Railways in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA cabinet. He also serves as the General Secretary of the AICC in Maharashtra.

    In his Karnataka career, he is credited with the abolition of the Octroi duty during the Devaraj Urs cabinet through his work as the head of the Octroi Abolition Committee. He was also the Minister of State for Primary Education in 1976 and worked to fill over 16,000 backlog vacancies for SC/ST teachers.

    He also served as the Minister of Revenue in the R. Gundu Rao cabinet, during which he focused extensively on land reforms which gave occupancy rights to many land-less labourers. This he continued well into the Sarekopps Bangarappa cabinet of 1989. He also served as a minister in the Veerappa Moily cabinet and had the arduous task of being the Home Minister in the S M Krishna cabinet, particularly with the heated atmosphere surrounding the kidnapping of Dr. Rajkumar by the infamous Dacoit Veerappan, and the Cauvery riots. He has been the front-runner of the Karnataka CM post multiple times.