Ahead of Karnataka Cabinet expansion veteran Cong MLA says seniors ignored

The Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka ran into more trouble on Tuesday with Senior Congress leader and former minister Ramalinga Reddy criticizing the party leadership for the dismal performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

In a series of tweets Ramalinga Reddy who is the MLA of BTM Layout constituency in Bengaluru, said, “The Congress party faced a humiliating loss in the Lok Sabha elections because veterans were sidelined in the coalition government and because of the lack of foresight of some Congress ministers.”

Reddy’s gripe came amid speculation that the coalition might offer two of the three Cabinet vacancies in the state government to Independent MLAs, rather than leaders from within.

Reddy said seniors’ advice had been overlooked by some ministers, who were rewarded by the party despite not knowing anything about the party or about protecting the party’s interest while in government. “The leaders in charge of the party in the state have failed in resolving the internal problems in the party,” he said.

“All the seniors of the party must come together and discuss the way forward for the party… If the situation continues then senior leaders might find it hard to continue in the party,” he went on to say.

Another Congress MLA R Roshan Baig who last month criticised KC Venugopal, AICC general secretary in charge of the state, former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah and Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao, who he called a flop show, backed Reddy to the hilt.

“I was sent a notice for criticising the party, but the national leadership must instead send notices to those Congress leaders who ensured the defeat of seniors like KH Muniyappa (seven-time MP who lost in the Kolar seat),” he said.

However, Baig said he was a loyal Congress worker and there was no question of his leaving the party at present, “though one cannot predict the future,” he said.

There was more trouble for the coalition on Tuesday with JD(S) state president AH Vishwanath resigning from the post taking moral responsibility for the party’s loss in the Lok Sabha elections.

Also read: Congress leader accuses ex-MLA of diverting funds to BJP to beat Deve Gowda

In a letter to former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, who is the JD(S)’s national president he also hit out at his exclusion from the coordination committee of the coalition government, headed by his nemesis and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, as also being one of the reasons for the decision.

Vishwanath, who had joined the JD(S) from the Congress last year ahead of the state assembly polls, had been made the regional party’s state president last year after HD Kumaraswamy became chief minister in the coalition government.

In his letter Vishwanath said Deve Gowda’s loss in the polls had hurt him personally. “My appeal to let you contest from Mysuru was opposed by the Congress, who made you contest in the place of a sitting Congress MP. You were made to face a humiliating loss in Tumakuru, and your loss became the state’s loss,” he said.

He said it was a similar was the case in the Mandya Lok Sabha seat where Deve Gowda’s grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy was defeated by Independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh. “Congress workers, former MLAs and the irresponsible statements of JD(S) MLAs resulted in the loss of Nikhil Kumaraswamy,” he said.

“The coordination committee of the coalition remained only in name and failed to become the coordinating force between the two parties. It has so far not even been able to come up with a Common Minimum Programme. There was also no place in it for me as the state president of the JD(S). The coordination committee became Siddaramaiah’s puppet,” he said.

Vishwanath later told reporters he was only following the tradition of party presidents stepping down when faced with an electoral loss. “If the party thinks it fit to include me in the Cabinet then I will definitely fulfill my job. However, I will not go around seeking a Cabinet post,” he added.

Later in the day, the JD(S) also held a meeting of its Legislature Party, where these developments were discussed.

Repeated attempts to reach Gundu Rao and deputy chief minister G Parameshwara for reactions on Reddy and Baig’s statements went unanswered.

The latest rumblings come at a time when several leaders of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party have said that they had been instructed by the central leadership to not do anything to destabilise the state government.

First Published:
Jun 04, 2019 20:38 IST

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