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    We are open to every possibility: Tharoor on Karnataka elections

    By Pti

    Lucknow, May 13: Asserting that the time had come to build a nation that was "productive, prosperous and safe", Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said the country was not safe in the hands of the BJP government.

    Congress MP Shashi Tharoor

    "...unfortunately, the evidence we have seen in the last four years (of the NDA rule) does not suggest that this country is safe in the hands of the present government," the former Union minister told a press conference in Lucknow.

    "...time has come for us to build a nation that is productive, prosperous, safe and inclusive. We cannot have a nation built on divides," he added.

    Asked about the poll outcome in Karnataka, Tharoor, who campaigned for the Congress candidates in the southern state, said, "I do not believe in some of the exit polls I have seen. Ultimately, what matters is what happens when the ballots are counted on May 15."

    Some of the exit polls have predicted a tight race between the BJP and the Congress in Karnataka, with a possibility of the JD(S) playing the role of a kingmaker.

    "There are three parties in the fray. If it was a straight fight, the answer would have been much easier. Some seats in southern Karnataka will be taken by the JD(S). We are leaving every possibility open. Every Congressman or (party) activist I have met in Karnataka has no doubt that we will be the single largest party. I saw a lot of confidence in them. If you ask about absolute majority for a party, I am afraid that we have to wait till May 15," Tharoor said.

    Polling for 222 of the 224-member Karnataka Assembly was held yesterday and the counting of votes will be taken up on Tuesday. On whether Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's campaign would help the BJP in the southern state, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said, "The campaign fell rather flat. Some people in some of the mutts may be inclined to support him, but his campaign failed to enthuse the people and questions were even asked within the BJP as to what was he doing there, when a natural calamity struck his home (state)."

    Tharoor, who was here to take part in a programme of the All India Professional Congress, said, "The All India Professional Congress endeavours to open chapters in various Lok Sabha constituencies, so that professionals can come together and interact as they do in a club."

    On the BJP attacking former Union minister P Chidambaram as regards the CBI filing chargesheets against his family members over alleged illegal assets, the Congress leader said, "If the defence minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) is speaking to the press and levelling such charges on a former minister, we would like her to answer questions about Rafale, Doklam...and frequent cross-border incursions and violence in Kashmir."

    Commenting on the controversy at the Aligarh Muslim University over a portrait of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah on its campus, Tharoor said, "The portrait has been hanging there since 1938 and there were BJP governments both in the state (Uttar Pradesh) and at the Centre (earlier). Why is the issue being raised now?"


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