No plans to retire from politics, hints Mallikarjun Kharge

No plans to retire from politics, hints Mallikarjun Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress veteran M Mallikarjun Kharge has indicated he has no plans to retire from politics for now and that he would accept any role assigned by the party central leadership. His comments ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections assume significance as the Congress has not named a chief ministerial candidate even though it has projected incumbent Siddaramaiah as the face of its campaign.

The party has been maintaining that the issue of chief ministership would be dealt with later. "Let me see, every body's fate is in the hands of people, and people are our masters and even I believe people are our God in democracy, the 75-year-old former union minister who hails from Kalaburagi, said when asked if he has any retirement plans. He also indicated that he would contest the next year's Lok Sabha elections. Presently the Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha, Kharge lost out to Siddaramaiah in the race to Chief Ministership in 2013.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his campaign here, the Lok Sabha constituency of Kharge, attacked the Congress for 'sidelining' the Dalit leader and choosing Siddaramaiah to head the government in 2013. Kharge said he had won 11 elections -- Lok Sabha and assembly -- in his political career so far. "As long as peoples blessings are there...if people bless me, I will contest next (Lok Sabha) election or whichever.. whatever high command says...that I will do," he told PTI. Kharge had earlier served as the Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly and President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. His son and IT Minister Priyank Kharge said his father is an inspiration for him.

It's a good thing that all the lessons that can be learnt in politics at home. His long (political) innings shows that if you are development-minded and if you are for people, people will protect you," Priyank Kharge said. When asked if the Congress is ready for a post-poll alliance with the JDS, as most opinion polls have forecast a hung verdict in the May 12 elections, he said: As of now, we (Congress) are going solo. We are 100 per cent confident that we will form a government with our own party. I am sure we would not be requiring alliances but when the situation arises (if the Congress falls short of numbers), its all left to the high command what to do, the junior Kharge said. I am confident we will come back to power without anybody's help, he asserted.