'Aspire to usher in equality than occupy CM's seat'

'Aspire to usher in equality than occupy CM's seat'

Veteran Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge. File photo

HIGHLIGHTS | Mallikarjun Kharge in conversation with DH

Veteran Congress leader M Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday said making reality his aspirations and principles like ushering in equality in society, and eradication of poverty took priority over occupying the chief minister’s post.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald and Prajavani in Bengaluru, Kharge said, “I entered politics believing in some principles and during the last 48 years in public life tried to implement them. This takes precedence over everything else including being chief minister.”

Kharge is a nine-term MLA and two-term MP and has never tasted electoral defeat since 1972.

There have been voices within the Congress that Kharge was denied an opportunity to become the chief minister by his detractors. “If my party when in power serves the people, I am satisfied”, he said.

On charges by a few Congress leaders that he was denied the post because he is a Dalit, Kharge said it was wrong to brand him under any particular community or category.

To a query that his name was proposed for the CM’s post when the Congress and the JD(S) decided to stitch together a coalition to form the government in Karnataka last year, Kharge said, “I came to know of that... but this is not the right time to speak”.

To another question, on his stand, if the Lok Sabha polls throw up a hung Parliament and in the ensuing coalition set-up he emerges as the “consensus prime minister”, Kharge said, “It is too premature and not right to talk about it. Our priority is to secure a majority.”

On the report of A J Sadashiva Commission, which recommends internal reservation among Scheduled Castes, not being implemented in the state, Kharge said, “A similar experiment was tried in Andhra Pradesh, but it could not stand the test of courts”.

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