Kharge rushes to CM's rescue, defends dual candidature

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge. PTI file photo

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday defended Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s decision to contest the May 12 Assembly election from two constituencies — Chamundeshwari and Badami.

It was widely reported that Kharge was among the many who were against Siddaramaiah contesting from two seats, a concern he apparently raised during the party’s Central Election Committee meeting earlier this month.  

“What’s wrong in that?” Kharge asked about Siddaramaiah contesting from two seats. He pointed out that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from two seats — Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Vadodara in Gujarat.

“In this case, people are demanding Siddaramaiah’s representation from Badami. It is under pressure that Siddaramaiah has accepted this and the high command has agreed,” he said.

Kharge said it was a “false propaganda of the BJP” that Siddaramaiah had decided to contest from Badami as he was fearful of a loss at Chamundeshwari. Siddaramaiah has already filed his nominations at Chamundeshwari and is slated to file his papers at Badami on Tuesday.

Kharge dismissed a query on whether he will be a contender to become chief minister if the Congress came back to power. “This is a hypothetical question. The high command will decide.”

Earlier in a press conference, Kharge targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “failing” to address farmers’ distress, attacks on women, children and Dalits among other issues. “No prime minister tours the world instead of solving domestic problems,” Kharge said.

“Modi isn’t answering Parliament on the Nirav Modi scam and whether demonetisation was
beneficial at all,” he said, adding that the BJP had not kept its promises on the back of which it came to power.

He said the Congress welcomed the ordinance to award death penalty to child rapists. “But why isn’t the government enforcing existing laws? It is because of non-enforcement that crimes against women and children have gone up 500%,” he said.

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