Former Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said the party was confident of an absolute majority, as of today. He pointed out that the BJP was targeting and trying to tarnish former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s image to hurt the chances of the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections.
“He (Siddaramaiah) is the popular leader in the state. He is number one in terms of popularity and they (BJP) want to tarnish his image, and by doing that, they think can undermine the Congress,” Rao told News18.
The Congress is all set to release its third list of candidates for the remaining 58 seats out of a total of 224 assembly constituencies, which will go to polls on May 10. Excerpts from an interview:
Is the Congress confident or, as the BJP says, a bit too overconfident this time?
We have been working hard and announced our list of candidates even before the election was announced in Karnataka. Our preparations have been good, and our campaign as well. The guarantees that we have announced have been appealing to the people. The BJP is in total confusion. Until two days ago, they had not even announced candidates. Now many are splitting up, leaving, and quitting. This shows the situation is bad for them and the Congress is only improving.
There is rebellion in the BJP, and veterans are being asked to retire. Is that Advantage Congress?
It was Advantage Congress even before this. Now it is even more advantageous for the Congress.
By how many seats do you think you can get an edge because of this infighting in the BJP?
I can’t fix a number or a percentage because we also have to announce some more names. Ultimately, things are much more favourable for the Congress in Karnataka and getting an absolute majority for us (Congress) today is almost certain.
Like, in the BJP, there is also a rebellion in the Congress. How would you address that?
In such a situation, there will always be hiccups. Some aspirants will leave or raise a rebellion. In the Congress, it is at a minimal level whereas in the BJP, we are seeing it at a much higher level. That is the difference. Our party leadership is following up with them (rebels) and trying to sort out the issues.
The ‘bharose’ or promises you have made from the Congress… You represent an urban seat. What is clicking in urban areas and rural areas?
All our promises are clicking with people. Inflation is a factor in urban areas as well. Somehow, in the city, people can find a job and earn a living. In rural areas, it is even worse. There is unemployment in urban areas as well and it is a big issue for us. That will have a big impact.
The Congress, at one point, was trying to appeal to Lingayat votes by talking about how the BJP had treated veteran BS Yediyurappa. Today, BSY is the troubleshooter for the BJP. How do you see the BJP using BSY to sort out their issues?
BSY is out of the electoral fray. He is trying to safeguard his son’s future. They (BJP) know their leader and the present chief minister is not even in command. Everything is being controlled by Amit Shah or (JP) Nadda. The only other person who seems a little involved is Yediyurappa. You are looking at a state BJP president who is not even visible, nobody is taking his views. The CM is just a figurehead. This shows what kind of government we have had in the last three to four years.
R Ashok, who is contesting from two seats and also one against DK Shivakumar in Kanakapura, is saying he has a commander in Modi but Shivakumar has none. How would you react to that?
Our all-India president is Mallikarjun Kharge, he is our commander. We have Rahul Gandhi. I don’t know what Ashok means by saying what he did.
Ashok also said wherever Rahul Gandhi goes, the Congress loses.
We have won so many states. Didn’t we win Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh? We won Punjab last time, but this time we lost. In Karnataka as well, it is not that we lost. So, it is a perception that they have created. We have won many states and lost as well.
The BJP says Siddaramaiah is contesting from two seats to be safe, and that no seat is safe for him in Karnataka.
Siddaramaiah did not want to contest from Kolar afterwards. He decided to go to Varuna. Even now, the pressure from Kolar is high for him to contest. Siddaramaiah has won so many elections. He has been CM and deputy CM. Obviously, they want to target him. He is the popular leader in the state. He is number one in terms of popularity and they want to tarnish his image and by doing that they can undermine the Congress.
Read all the Latest Politics News here