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"Congress does not practise Hindutva, we follow Hinduism"

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The Congress says it is confident of winning the Karnataka assembly elections 2018. All parties are currently in election mode and each one is putting his or her best leg forward to ensure that they win this prestigious state.

Brijesh Kalappa

Ahead of the polls, there is the talk of Hindutva, soft Hindutva etc and this is expected to be a major poll plank. The National Spokesperson of the Congress, Brijesh Kalappa says, the Congress can never do Hindutva. It is Hinduism that the Congress does, he says in this interview with OneIndia.

Will the demand by Lingayats be a major issue in Karnataka?

Honestly, the Congress does not think about it as an election issue. The Congress has only heard them out. A majority of the Lingayats have told me that they would benefit from the minority tag.

Are you confident that the Congress would come to power?

We will retain our present number, no doubt. I won't be surprised if we get more than what we did in 2013.

Where is that confidence coming from?

We have fulfilled 98 per cent of our pre-electoral promises. Like a good labourer, we are here to collect what is due to us. We have done a sincere job and the voter will reward us.

Rahul Gandhi visiting temples, Siddaramaiah said, I have a Ram in my name. Are these signs of soft Hindutva that the Congress is practising today?

Congress can never do Hindutva. We can only do Hinduism. Hindutva is for votes, the kind BJP does. Hindutva is a coinage of Savarkar who made use of religion to further his political programmes. In a secular state, religion and politics must be kept separate.

Your thoughts on the allegations and counter-allegations on communal politics?

I do not think communal issues will ever carry any force in Karnataka. When BJP came to power in 2008, it was because of the sympathy factor that the JD(S) had ditched them. It was not on a communal factor. Communal issues have never had any acceptance not just in Karnataka, but in all the southern states.

What about the rift between Siddaramaiah and Dr Parameshwar on the CM candidate?

Whenever there is a sitting CM, he is considered to be the next Chief Ministerial candidate. There is no rift. Parameshwar set the record straight recently and said that Siddaramaiah is the CM candidate. I don't there is an issue on that factor here.

What about you? We hear you are contesting from Kodagu.

There is pressure on me to contest from Kodagu. I have given it a thought and feeling that it would be better if I contested the Lok Sabha polls instead.

Karnataka Assembly Election dates
Date of notification April 17
Last date to file nominations April 24
Last date to withdraw nominations April 27
Date of polling May 12
Date of counting May 15

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