Newly-elected Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday said that his party will form a non-Bharatiya Janata Party government under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi after the next Lok Sabha elections.

“If anyone will bring a non-BJP government in Centre, it will be the Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi,” Kharge said a gathering of the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra in Hyderabad. “We have that much power.”

The Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra is a 3,570-kilometre-long nationwide tour that will cover 12 states and two Union Territories in about five months.

The party has described the march as its biggest mass contact exercise since independence and a “turning point” in India’s political history ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The march was launched from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 8.

On Tuesday, Kharge said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra was gaining widespread support from the youth. He said this was due to the Narendra Modi government’s failure to generate two crore jobs every year as promised before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Kharge also criticised Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao alleging that in eyeing a national role for himself, he had ignored the welfare of the state.

On October 5, Rao had renamed his Telangana Rashtra Samithi as Bharat Rashtra Samithi, signalling his foray into national politics.

“KCR [K Chandrasekhar Rao] is visiting other states and meeting leaders...Look after your own house first,” Kharge said. “With your actions, you are weakening the party [Congress] which is alive from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and is ready to fight the BJP.”

He added: “If you are against the BJP, why did you support them on the farm laws?...There is no difference between KCR and Modi, both are together.”

This was Kharge’s first appearance in the Bharat Jodo Yatra as president of the Congress.

The 80-year-old leader from Karnataka won the Congress presidential election against Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on October 19. He formally took charge on October 26.