Kalaburgi: Opposition Leader and sitting Congress MP Mallikarjun Kharge Sunday exuded confidence that he will win the elections and accused the BJP of building hype around its candidate Umesh Jadhav in the reserved Gulbarga parliamentary constituency.
"BJP is creating a fake hype around Jadhav winning the Gulbarga reserved seat," he told PTI in an exclusive interview at Wadi where he stopped over for lunch at the house of a Sufi priest. Kharge said despite the alleged use of money power, he would win the elections as people know him for the past 50 years and development works he had undertaken so far. "The elections are not at all tough. This hype has been created by the RSS and BJP leaders. I am going to win the election. People here know me for the past 50 years. They know the work I did - whether it is setting up central university, ESI hospital, dental and medical colleges or skill development centres. So, such hype against me will not work," he said.
The 77-year-old Congress leader is seeking people's mandate for the 12th time. Kharge's main rival is former Congress MLA Jadhav, who recently joined the BJP.
Asked why the BJP and the RSS are creating such a hype, Kharge said the Prime Minister and BJP President Amit Shah are "afraid" of his performance in this region.
Replying to a query, Kharge said the switch over of Mallikaiah Guttedar and three other leaders including Jadhav to BJP, will not have any impact on his poll prospects as he is fighting the election on the basis of party's ideology, which opposes highly "individualistic" and "dictatorial rule" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "Some of these leaders are in politics due to my blessings, but why they left Congress just ahead of the elections, the people of constituency are well aware of," Kharge said. "I gave ticket to some of them in my place. Jadhav was working under me in ESI labour department. Guttedar was in my constituency. I have given my place to Baburao Chinchinsur where I was MLA for 37 years. Malaka Reddy is not from my constituency either. They left the party for reasons unknown. I am fighting on ideological front and against individualistic and dictatorial rule of Modi," he said.
Indians will not accept RSS philosophy which believes in Manusmriti, not the Constitution, which is dangerous for the nation, Kharge said. "People instead want inclusive growth, development and secular principles. Our Constitution is based on liberty, equality and fraternity. RSS does not want this. They believe in Manusmriti, not Constitution. This is dangerous for the country," he said.
Reacting to allegations of promoting his son Priyank Kharge in the region, Kharge said Congress leaders and the high command forced his son into politics and it would be unfair for the media and opposition parties to say he was playing dynastic politics. "My son came into politics on his own. All leaders, including the high command, forced him to contest by-election after I left my constituency. They asked why I was afraid of my son standing against the BJP. You forced him to come into politics and now there is propaganda that I brought my son in. This is unfair to him and uncharitable towards me," he said.