Maharashtra CM helping BJP poach Cong MLAs in Karnataka: Mallikarjun Kharge
Kharge was chairing a meeting at YB Chavan Centre in Nariman Point to hand over the charge of the party’s state unit to newly-appointed chief Balasaheb Thorat and the five working presidents.Updated: Jul 19, 2019 01:28 IST
All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday alleged that chief minister (CM) Devendra Fadnavis is helping his party poach Congress MLAs from Karnataka and lodging them in Mumbai. Calling it “unconstitutional”, Kharge said the CM is “using police force to hole up the Karnataka MLAs for days and bringing them individually in chartered flights”.
Kharge was chairing a meeting at YB Chavan Centre in Nariman Point to hand over the charge of the party’s state unit to newly-appointed chief Balasaheb Thorat and the five working presidents.
Kharge, who hails from Karnataka, also said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to pull down Congress governments in various states and threatening them by “using” the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department. He said one rebel Congress MLA from Karnataka had been lodged in a Mumbai office for more than a month ahead of the Lok Sabha election and was later given a ticket in the general polls. He also said by attempting to pull down the “constitutionally-installed government”, the BJP was “killing democracy and intending to spread dictatorship in the country”. “Where do they get the money for all this,” he asked.
Meanwhile, before taking charge of the Congress’s state unit, Thorat and his team of working presidents — Nitin Raut, Vishwajeet Kadam, Basavraj Patil, Muzaffer Hussain and Yashomati Thakur — visited Siddhivinayak Temple and Chaityabhoomi in the morning. All major state leaders, including outgoing state unit president Ashok Chavan; former chief ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and Prithviraj Chavan; leader of Opposition in legislative Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar; former state president Manikrao Thakre; among others, were present at the meeting. The leaders also passed a resolution urging Rahul Gandhi to continue as president of the party.
Thorat, while addressing the party leaders and workers after taking charge, said the Congress should be thankful to the rebels switching their loyalties as it gives opportunity to the younger leaders. “The young leaders will be given due representation in the election. There will be no factionalism within the leadership, but even you [other leaders and workers] should not indulge in groupism. We all should join hands and fight shoulder to shoulder and realise we are treading through a bad time. It is not difficult to install Congress government in the state if we fight in union,” he said.
Some of the second-rung leaders from the party also expressed the need to provide opportunity to the younger leaders in the forthcoming Assembly elections. Former party MP Rajani Patil also urged the new state president to not entertain factionalism within the party to ensure its success in the elections. Ashok Chavan also said he will fight tooth and nail to regain the past glory of the party.
KADAM RUBBISHES RUMOURS OF SWITCHING LOYALTY
Rubbishing the speculations about him joining the BJP, working president Kadam said BJP’s state unit president Chandrakant Patil’s statement was ridiculous. Patil had on Wednesday said that one of the five working presidents of Congress was on the verge of joining the BJP.
“My father Patangrao Kadam was a party loyalist and worked for the party for more than 40 years. There is no question of leaving the party,” he said.