As the counting of votes polled in Kalaburagi Lok Sabha constituency drew to a close and trends clearly indicated his defeat against BJP's Umesh Jadhav on Thursday, Congress Leader in Lok Sabha and party’s candidate in Kalaburagi constituency M. Mallikarjun Kharge said that he would accept the people’s verdict.
This is Mr. Kharge's first defeat since 1972 when he began his political career. Speaking to reporters at the District Congress Committee office, he thanked all leaders and cadres within the constituency and outside who work hard for him and the people who voted for him in the election. “First of all, I bow to the people and accept their verdict. Winning and losing are integral features of any democracy and we have been fighting for vibrant democracy since long,” he said.
About about the Congress's poor performance, the visibly upset senior Congressman said that the party leaders would sit and introspect and find out the reasons shortly. “We will continue our fight for democracy and secularism. We will convince all those who distanced themselves from us for whatever reasons – be it our mistakes or misunderstanding between us – and rebuild the party,” he said. When asked whether he still saw any problem with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Mr. Kharge categorically said that he would not blame EVMs. However, he admitted that suspicions of EVM tampering were raised well ahead of Lok Sabha polls. “Our stand on the issue remains the same even now. However, I don’t specifically blame EVMs for my and my party’s defeat in the election at the moment. Doing so would amount to an excuse,” he said. To a question, Mr. Kharge said that the Lok Sabha results would not have any adverse effect on the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state.