Interview with M.B. Patil: ‘Congress will have region-specific strategies for 2023 Assembly elections in Karnataka’

A file photo of former Minister M.B. Patil addressing a Congress workers' campaign rally in Athani, Belagavi district, Karnataka.

A file photo of former Minister M.B. Patil addressing a Congress workers' campaign rally in Athani, Belagavi district, Karnataka.


With just over a year left for the Assembly elections in Karnataka, Congress has appointed former Water Resources Minister and Lingayat leader from Vijayapura district M.B. Patil as Chairman of the Campaign Committee. His appointment is seen as a balancing act to address regional and caste calculations, and comes at a time when Congress seems to be in an upbeat mood following election victories. Excerpts from an interview.

Ahead of elections, what plans do you have on the ground?

Though I have my own plan, I will come up with a master plan based on the guidance of all leaders in the party. Opinion of youngsters will be sought. My focus will be to get the party back to power as a team. It is not only to come back to power, but also to give good governance and undertake development work. We will showcase the work of Congress governments of the past that needs to be communicated to people, and bad governance of the BJP government.

Can you tell us about the campaign strategy?

There will be region-specific strategies for which I will have to hold consultations. We will come up with a road map after discussing with others on an action plan.

Will you be focusing on north Karnataka region?

As campaign committee head, I cannot be focusing on north Karnataka alone. There will be focus for every region, including south Karnataka, coastal and central Karnataka regions. There will be no bias.

Are Lingayats in north Karnataka looking at Congress as an alternative after BJP forced B.S. Yediyurappa to step down?

Everybody is fed up with BJP. Mr. Yediyurappa is the senior leader from the community. He could not complete his term last time, and this time too. There is a feeling of hurt in the community. Veerashaiva-Lingayat community wants to back Congress in a big way. There are a lot of leaders from the community in the Congress, and we will all work together. The community also wants to vote for Congress after the Yediyurappa episode.

Will your past association in the Lingayat movement come to haunt you again?

No, there was only an ideological difference over the name, but the effort was to unite the whole community. It, however, came close to 2018 elections. I have already clarified six months back that I am not into it now. We will together work for the betterment of the community, especially for education and employment of children.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 12:39:24 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/interview-mb-patil-congress-will-have-region-specific-strategies-for-2023-assembly-elections-in-karnataka/article38338995.ece