Mallikarjun Kharge’s emergence as AICC president has given a lot of confidence to Congress leaders in Karnataka that they will be able to form the next government in the state when assembly elections are held early next year. A clear sign of this was the manner in which Kharge’s Sadashivanagar residence in Bengaluru was packed with visitors — hundreds of party leaders and workers — calling on him early this week. In the fractious Karnataka politics message went out that the new Congress chief would not be another power centre but someone who would play a referee in the all -out war between two factions of DK Shivkumar and Siddaramiah. It was interesting that very important visitors had lined up, seeking a ticket for their kin in 2023 polls. Among the senior leaders who called on Kharge were former Governor Margret Alva, former Assembly Speaker KB Koliwad and Allum Veerabhadrappa. The rush to meet Kharge was so much that he had to skip his 1.15 pm flight back to New Delhi and instead take an evening flight. He was confident that he would get everybody’s support. He has already asked party leaders to chase a target of 150 seats– a target set by Rahul Gandhi.