‘Deeply touched,’ says Shri Mallikarjun Khargeat the launch of a book to mark his 50 years in politics

I have seen many challenges to the country over the last 50 years. The country has tried to address those challenges and will continue to overcome new challenges to emerge stronger: Shri Mallikarjun Kharge

Extracts of the speech of Congress President and LoP (Rajya Sabha) Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, where he thanked the editorial committee at the book launch function at Jawahar Bhawan, New Delhi on November 29, 2023.

This is a very happy and emotional event for me. I entered the Karnataka Vidhan Sabha as MLA in 1972. I completed 50 years in electoral politics last year. This book was supposed to be released last year, but, due to various reasons it kept getting delayed and we have gathered here today for its release with my leader Smt. Sonia Gandhi Ji.

I would like to thank Smt. Sonia Gandhi Ji for having taken the time to release this book. When the authors sought her appointment and time for releasing the book, she was magnanimous enough to tell them that she will make time whenever they want to release the book. It is a privilege that the book is being released by Sonia Gandhi Ji and I would like to thank Madam for it.

I would like to thank Prof. SukhadeoThorat and Shri Chetan Shinde for their hard work and efforts in putting together this book. They took this initiative of preparing this book and wanted to release it to coincide with my 80th Birthday and 50 Years of me winning my first election. They have taken a lot of efforts in meeting many senior leaders, getting in touch with friends, well-wishers and people who have known me for the last 50 years in politics to collect their articles. They have spent many hours each time, they have come to Delhi to record my views. I would like to thank them for respect, love and affection they have shown towards me through this book.

I would also like to thank all the people who have written about me in this book. Everybody who was requested by the authors to contribute an article has been kind enough to send their message. I am deeply touched by the messages from all of you. Many of you are here with me. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend this programme.

What I have been able to contribute to the people of my constituency, my state and my country, it is because of the faith shown in me by the voters and by my Party leaders. When I was chosen to contest the MLA election by Congress Party, I was only 29 years old. The Congress Party recognised that I was someone who would fight for the rights of the poor, the labour class, the Dalits and other weaker sections -the marginalized sections of the society. That is why they gave me the opportunity. I was given an opportunity to serve as minister in my very first term as MLA by Smt. Indira Gandhi as she too recognised that I could serve the state better, so she gave me the portfolio of education, independently. From being an ordinary Party worker, I could reach this position. It is because of democracy and the Constitution that protects this democracy.

Without this Constitution, there would not be a democracy in our country. Without democracy, there would be no opportunity for ordinary people to gain political and social rights in our country. As you can see from the book, leaders from all parties have written very warm message for me, even if, I do not agree with them politically, and ideologically on a personal basis. I wish them all well too, but I also cannot ignore that today both the Constitution and our Parliamentary democracy are in danger in our country. It is because of the people who are in power, or those who do not believe in our Constitution, our flag, our Parliamentary democracy of government they have said- they are waiting for the right time to change all these things, and bring their own Constitution. I have seen many challenges to the country over the last 50 years. The country has tried to address those challenges and will continue to overcome new challenges to emerge stronger. It will happen only when we are able to sort out our differences and come together boldly. I would like to conclude my expressing, my deepest and most the sincere gratitude to all of you and especially my leader Smt. Sonia Gandhi Ji.

Thank You! Jai Hind!