NEW DELHI, May 1 (PTI): A win in the Karnataka polls will be a “super booster dose” for the Congress electorally after the Bharat Jodo Yatra revitalised the party ideologically and organisationally, senior leader Jairam Ramesh has said.
The Congress general secretary (in-charge communications) said that while the 2024 parliamentary elections are still some months away, the outcome in Karnataka would definitely impact the crucial assembly polls later this year in states such as Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
“A win (in Karnataka polls) will be a super booster dose for the Congress. It will strengthen the Congress as we go to the polls in Telangana, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram,” Ramesh, who is on the campaign trail in Karnataka, told PTI in an interview.
“I don’t want to look to 2024 but I would look at 2023 and for that it (win in Karnataka) would be a super booster dose for the Congress,” the former Union minister said.
While the Bharat Jodo Yatra revitalised the Congress ideologically and organisationally, a victory in Karnataka would revitalise it electorally, Ramesh said.
“Don’t be surprised if we retain Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and come back to Madhya Pradesh as we had the mandate there before we were betrayed by Mr (Jyotiraditya) Scindia and his colleagues and the government was stolen from the Congress,” he said.
In Telangana, Ramesh opined, the fight is between the Congress and the BRS, and the BJP is just creating a lot of hype.
“So electorally, for 2024 it is too early to say but I would say, for 2023, the elections that would come, this victory for the Congress in Karnataka will be a super booster dose,” he asserted.
Ramesh claimed there was a “very strong current” in favour of the Congress in Karnataka.
“It is not just an undercurrent, there is an over current and I am in an area which is supposed to be a BJP bastion, which is the coastal area, and there is a widespread sentiment for a change,” he told PTI over phone.
Ramesh said people have seen through the BJP propaganda about “good governance” over the last four years of its regime.
“So, I think we are headed for a clear majority in the assembly. I don’t agree with the assessment that it is going to be a hung verdict. I think it is going to be a clear majority for the Congress,” he said.
Noting that Karnataka is the only state in the South that the BJP has a government in, Ramesh said there is no prospect of the BJP coming to power in Kerala, Tamil Nadu or Telangana “and so it is banking on Karnataka”.
“You see the type of high profile campaigning Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be undertaking in the good part of next 12-13 days, along with Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Yogi Adityanath and several cabinet ministers. The entire government and the entire BJP are focusing on Karnataka,” he said.
Ramesh said this time the Congress campaign has been very strategic on “vocal for local”.
“People are seeing this. It is a positive and constructive campaign by the Congress. I can tell you having spent 22 days in October in seven districts in Karnataka during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, it was very evident from October that the time for a change was there and Rahul Gandhi was able to capitalise on that mood or that sentiment,” he said.
The entire Congress party and the organisation got a booster dose from the Bharat Jodo Yatra and it is seeing the consequences of that in this election, Ramesh said.
Asked about the prime minister’s campaign blitz in Karnataka, Ramesh said the BJP can do whatever “carpet bombing” they want but there are enough local issues the Congress has raised and given guarantees to different sections of society which will ensure its success.
Slamming the BJP’s campaign, Ramesh said, “The divisiveness, the polarization, the threats, the intimidation, this is backfiring on the BJP.”
“To preserve the social fabric of Karnataka, to ensure that economic growth takes place in Karnataka in an environment of social peace, people have recognised that the Congress is the only alternative,” he said.
Voting will take place in the state on May 10 and the results will be declared on May 13.