Congress not interested in post of PM, says Kharge
Kharge said there may be differences among parties at the state level, but those differences can be put aside for the sake of every common Indian
Bengaluru Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday indicated that his party was not interested in bagging the Prime Minister’s chair after the next elections, and was ready to fight, along with its allies, to protect the idea of India, the Constitution, secularism, and democracy.
Addressing the second meeting of the Opposition parties, Kharge said there may be differences among the parties at the state level, but those differences can be put aside for the sake of every common Indian.
“Our intention is not to assume power for ourselves. It is to protect our Constitution, democracy, secularism and social justice,” he said at the beginning of the meeting.
This was a strong and clear message at a time when the contours of the new alliance are being chalked out, with the Congress seen not only as the largest party with a pan-India presence from the grouping but one that could serve as the glue to bind the alliance as it did during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) era.
Kharge’s words appeared to ring a bell with leaders from other parties.
“It is a welcome speech. The Congress being the largest Opposition party, needs to show generosity and take everyone along with it,” said a senior leader from a non-Congress party who asked not to be named.
A Left leader present in the meeting, added: “Kharge’s speech reflects the mood of the meeting. His clarification is very timely as the leadership question or who will be the PM face can ruin the alliance.”
And a third leader from a regional party, while appreciating Kharge’s comments, pointed out that the alliance has kept the leadership issue away from the discussions at this stage. “The Congress president’s remarks signal that the leadership issue is an open question,” he said.
The Congress chief stressed on the need for parties to come together.
“At the state level, there are some differences between us. But these differences are not so big that we can’t overcome them for the benefit of common people who are suffering inflation. We can set aside our differences for the youth who are suffering from unemployment and for the poor, the Dalit, the adivasis, and the minorities whose rights are being crushed,” Kharge said.
He pointed out the 26 parties represent substantial political strength with 11 state governments between themselves. “I am happy that 26 parties are present in Bengaluru to work unitedly. Together, we are in government in 11 states today. The BJP did not get 303 seats by itself. It used the votes of its allies and came to power and then discarded them. The BJP president and their leaders are running from state-to-state to patch up with their old allies. They are scared that the unity they see here will result in their defeat next year,” he added.
The Congress chief said every institution is being turned into a weapon against the Opposition. “Let us resolve to take India to back to the path of progress, welfare and true democracy.”
Besides Kharge, Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi; Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal; West Bengal Mamata Banerjee; Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin; former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray; Bihar CM Nitish Kumar; Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren; NCP leader Sharad Pawar, MDMK’s Vaiko; CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury; VCK’s Tholkappiyan Thirumavalavan, and CPI(ML)’s Dipankar Bhattacharya were among the other leaders who spoke at the event.