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Home » State poll results show voters want strong Opposition: DK Shivakumar | india news

State poll results show voters want strong Opposition: DK Shivakumar | india news

Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar, in an interview with Hindustan Times, spoke about his incarceration in connection with a money laundering case, the outcome of state elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, and his likely future role in the grand old party. Shivakumar was released on bail on October 23 after being arrested on September 3. Edited excerpts:

You are out of jail after two months and you have maintained that this is vendetta politics…

See, one who doesn’t go against his conscience will have to face difficult consequences. I knew this, (I knew) what was going on, so I was mentally ready. Ultimately, our conscience dictates what we do. A lot of the party’s cadre and leaders have expressed confidence in me. I don’t want to betray anyone, and I had to face it. As a politically important functionary, I thought that this hour of crisis had to be brazened out. I know it is a tough time for my family, friends, and partymen. But one thing that all of them know is that I have not done any wrong. I am not involved in any corruption or criminal activities. This is politics and sometimes someone has to take a beating. I had to take it.

In this round of state elections, the Congress has fared better than expected, whether in Maharashtra or in Haryana, What does it mean for the party?

It is not the Congress alone, it is the people of this country who wanted a strong Opposition. Some of the issues they (the Bharatiya Janata Party) staged, they thought it will last, and ultimately the people of this country decided ‘we have to give a strong Opposition.’ Any party exists with a strong Opposition; the people decided that they want the Congress party. In the Congress, some of our local leaders put in a lot of efforts. But in Maharashtra, some of the leaders at the helm of affairs did not take up work at the right time. All these things are small, but we thank the people of the country. There is a message there: Something is going wrong, the development of the country is under question, and the youth is being affected.

Is there space inside the Congress for regional leaders to play a bigger role?

They are giving us roles, but regional leaders (like me) are not utilising these roles. Those who have enjoyed power need to be accountable, too. We cannot put our strength behind Madam (Sonia Gandhi) and Rahul ji {Rahul Gandhi}. After all, they are human beings, how much can they work?. I have seen in Karnataka. Rahul ji spent over 3-4 months there. He has tirelessly gone from state to state — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat. This is not just a month-long job. Everyone, be it MLA or MP or a minister, some of whom have been in power for 30-40 years, should take up the responsibility, they should not just back out tomorrow. It is not only me, it is everyone who has enjoyed power. All of us big leaders, we should contribute to the strength of the party. Then only will the party survive.

You met Congress general secretary in-charge of the organisation, KC Venugopal, on Thursday and then Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. There has always been speculation that a role at All India Congress Committee could be what you take up next.

They had offered me {such a role} long back also, I believe in my leadership. Whether a party position is there or not, the trust that the cadre and the leadership has put on me is very much important to me. I am not worried about the leadership or an important position; a position comes and it goes. We are a part of the system, so whatever my party tells me, I will do. There are a lot of people across the country who have shown their love to me these last two months. People had hit the streets, crying, weeping, praying; for all of these, I want God to give me the strength to help them and see that their aspirations are fulfilled. The confidence they have put on me, I should try to repay my gratitude to them.

Are you saying that if there’s an option between a role at AICC and Karnataka, you’d like to stay in Karnataka?

I leave that to my party, I will not go and ask, and have never done that ever; I leave it to them. A position is not important for me.

First Published:
Oct 26, 2019 23:40 IST

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