Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge Discusses 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, Party Strategies, and Key Issues | NewsX Exclusive

To understand the same, NewsX was recently joined by the President of the Indian National Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge for an exclusive interaction with Priya Sahgal, Editorial Director.

Amidst the ongoing political fervor with the Lok Sabha Elections for the year 2024, which, now,is at its peak, the nation’s future hangs in the balance. As the sixth phase of the General Assembly elections concluded on May 25, the country is gearing up for the last and final phase of the elections on June 1 which will be followed by the day of the results of the month long polling shortly after, on June 4. To understand the current political scenario, it is imperative for one to get an insight into what the parties involved think of the largest democratic exercise and how they percieve the current situation.

To understand the same, NewsX was recently joined by the President of the Indian National Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge for an exclusive interaction with Priya Sahgal, Editorial Director. Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge is an Indian lawyer and politician who has been serving as the President of the Indian National Congress since 2022, and has also been the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha since 2021. He has been a notable Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from the state of Karnataka since the year 2020.

Joining in the conversation, he has provided detailed insights into his perspective of the Lok Sabha Elections for the year 2024. He has given his insights on the manifesto war that has been going on, the quota system in the country, the issue of secularism and jobs. Touching upon some of the crucial subjects that have been the highlight of this year’s General Assembly Elections, Kharge has given his unabridged opinion on the same.

“Prime Minister Modi is frustrated”

Beginning the interview Mallikarjun Kharge stated, “The elections are still going on and we can’t predict if Modi will achieve his ‘400 par’. We are trying our best this election season and the mood of the voters on the ground has now come to ‘Modi Hatao’. Hence out of frustration, Modi makes such attacks targeted towards us. BJP has not solved the people’s problems of inflation, unemployment or the farmers’ crisis, so the voters have made up their minds to vote for Congress.” He asserted that people believe that they have been voting for Prime Minister Modi and his government since a very long time and yet none of their problems seem to have been resolved. He claimed that these viewpoints have specifically been persistent in the minds of the people residing at the grassroot level of the country.

Editorial Director, NewsX, Priya Sahgal took the opportunity to ask the Congress President about the states where he believed that BJP was set to get the biggest shock and what was the opinion of the people in his state, Karnataka, to which the Congress the president asserted that the vote share in several states in the country was set to increase including states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and several others.

“TDP is more concerned about power”

Taking the interview further, Priya Sahgal highlighted the Bharatiya Janata Party’s weaker point to be its allies while the Congress Party had been gaining strength because of its allies. Kharge took the opportunity to bring to surface that the Telugu Desam Party(TDP) was originally formulated on the ideologies of the former CM of Andhra Pradesh, N T Rama Rao who was supportive of the backward class, the weaker sections of the society including the Adivasis, which was the reason why he emerged as a good leader. “He had emerged as a good leader, that too, against the Congress, when Congress was also working towards bringing a lot of reforms in the country. But now that party is not sticking to the ideology rather are only concerned about the power,” he took a dig at the TDP party. Taking his point forward, he prompted the question of what the Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Modi would do for the Backward classes and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other minorities. “He is doing it solely to gain power,” Kharge asserted.

As the interview progresses, Priya Sahgal asks, “Look at the narratives on the election, the Congress has been claiming that if the BJP came to power they will change the Constitution, while the BJP has been reiterating that if anybody has amended the Constitution, it is the Congress party that has amended the Constitution eighty times in the past, if anybody has misused the Article 356, it is the Congress. ‘So why have you been accusing us all this time?”

“BJP wants to change Constitution”

The Congress President responded that he also had to get an amendment for the Article 371 J for Hyderabad-Karnataka because of its backwardness and similarly several other states had to get their amendments under Artcle 371 but for the good things. ” The BJP wants to change the Constitution according to their ideology. They don’t want Fundamental Rights for the poor, they don’t want Freedom of Press, and Freedom of Speech or Expression. They are putting good writers, speakers in jail,” he asserted that if BJP achieved its ‘400 paar’ aim, they would manipulate the Constitution to benefit and suit their ideologies to which Priya countered stating, “but the BJP says that the example of this was given to us under Indira Gandhi’s governance.”

“That was a declared emergency which was also regretted later, but based on that, how fair is it that you want to repeat the same thing? You can’t say the same thing everytime. If I have made a mistake, you want to repeat the same mistake? You have brought up on the people of the country, an undeclared emergency,” Kharge pointed out how the Bharatiya Janata  Party was putting people of differing viewpoints behind the bars without any fault. He took a dig at the BJP for intentionally repeating the same mistake that was made during Indira Gandhi’s term as Prime Minister.

Also read: PM Modi’s Mujra Remark to The Opposition Stirs Controversy Amidst The Elections

“We follow the Constitution”

“In an interview that the Prime Minister gave to NewsX, he said that the Congress Party is actually practicing communalism and the garb of secularism, all this appeasement politics that he was talking about,” Priya asked Mallkarjun Kharge.

“We are following the Constitution, We never appease. Freedom of religion and Freedom of expression are there. Everybody has got the freedom to follow their faith. Everytime he says that Congress is against Ram, Muslims are given the first right, You can’t always do wrong and then defend yourself,” Kharge countered and brought to light all the good things that were done by the Congress party but were being suppressed by the BJP.

“In the Congress campaign, how do you see the role of Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, as campaigners? Priyanka, for instance has emerged as one of your star campaigners,” Priya Sahgal asked, taking the interview forward, to which the leader of the Opposition expressed his positive outlook at their performance. “They are doing good. It was a collectove decision that the party members should go to different areas to hold their rallies and draw the people to garner support and connect with the people. I also went to some other areas,” he asserted.

The Congress party President refrained from commenting on Priya Sahgal’s question regarding the last minute decision of Rahul Gandhi contesting from Raebareli instead of Amethi and regarding the legacy seats, he asserted that it was the party’s strategy and a political decision that was taken by all the political leaders and the workers of the party.

“We don’t play on emotions”

Concluding the interview, Priya Sahgal put forth her question, “Everybody says development is the most important issue during election but emotion also works a great deal at the last minute during the elections and in terms of BJP, everybody knows what emotions the BJP is playing on, what is the Congress party’s emotional connect?”

“We don’t play on emotions, we are working for the people, and people, this time, are coming out, themselves, against the inflation and price rise, and employment and against the farmers’ problems, therefore we don’t need to ask for votes based on compassion,” he asserted that the Congress’ has been working for the people and do not hit at people’s emotions to garner vote from them.

“We have brought out a good manifesto and everything is there,” Kharge went on to list out the benefits that the Congress manifesto has to offer to the people including benefits for the women, youth and the twenty-five guarantees along with the several others.

Priya Sahgal asked Mallikarjun Kharge for his concluding remarks on the Congress USP, “If you want to explain the Congress USP to the voters in one line, how would you say it?”

“When the alliance partners are fighting together with us, they will decide who should be the face for the alliance,” Kharge concluded with the remark after which Editoral Director, Priya Sahgal thanked the Congress President for his time and concluded the interview

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