Senior Congress leader has lost in Lok Sabha elections from Gulbarga seat of Karnataka by a margin of around 1 lakh votes against BJP candidate Dr Umesh Jadhav. This is the first electoral defeat for Kharge in political career.
“Our party’s incumbent MLAs and zilla panchayat leaders and cadre worked very hard to help me win. I want to convey my heartfelt thanks to them. Although they worked hard, their efforts did not bear fruit. We have to respect the decision of the people in a democracy. If any of the leaders and cadre are disgruntled, we will try to bring them back. We will try to strengthen our party,” Mallikarjun Kharge said.
It may be recalled that earlier this month, Mallikarjun Kharge had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would hang himself at New Delhi’s Vijay Chowk if the opposition registers a good result.
Taking about the Congress’s poor performance, the visibly upset senior Congressman said that the party leaders would sit and introspect and find out the reasons shortly.
“We will continue our fight for democracy and secularism. We will convince all those who distanced themselves from us for whatever reasons – be it our mistakes or misunderstanding between us – and rebuild the party,” he said.
When asked whether he still saw any problem with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Mr. Kharge categorically said that he would not blame EVMs. However, he admitted that suspicions of EVM tampering were raised well ahead of Lok Sabha polls. “Our stand on the issue remains the same even now. However, I don’t specifically blame EVMs for my and my party’s defeat in the election at the moment. Doing so would amount to an excuse,” he said.
To a question, Mr. Kharge said that the Lok Sabha results would not have any adverse effect on the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state.