Bengaluru, May 21 (IANS) The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) on Tuesday served notice to its legislator R. Roshan Baig for allegedly criticising the party’s state unit leaders ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha poll results on Thursday, an official said.
“A show-cause notice has been served on Baig to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for going public against the party’s state unit leaders through the media,” party spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS here.
Baig, a former senior minister, is a legislator from the Shivajinagar Assembly segment in Bengaluru Central.
Commenting on the exit polls that projected the Congress performing poorly in the state’s 28 Lok Sabha seats, Baig lashed out at the party’s state in-charge and General Secretary K.C. Venugopal, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the party’s state unit President Dinesh Gundu Rao.
“Venugopal is a buffoon. What does he know about the party in our state as he is from Kerala? Due to Siddaramaiah’s arrogance, the party lost in the May 2018 Assembly elections and Rao’s immaturity is responsible for the dismal state of affairs currently,” Baig told reporters at his residence here.
Baig’s attack comes two days after Congress President Rahul Gandhi advised the party’s state leaders, ministers and legislators not to air their opinions that may harm the party’s interests or are against its leaders in the public or to the media.
“Rao has already told our leaders, including ministers and legislators, to refrain from commenting against the party leaders, our coalition partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and its leaders and on the party’s prospects till the results are declared on Thursday,” Gowda said.
Baig, who was once the state’s Home Minister when he was in the erstwhile Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and its ministry during the mid-nineties, accused the party’s state leaders of neglecting the minority communities like the Muslims and Christians and allegedly treating them as bonded labour for vote bank politics.
“Only one Muslim candidate (Rizwan Arshad) was given the ticket to contest from the Bengaluru Central in the Lok Sabha elections while there were three Kuruba candidates in the fray. It has taken us (Muslims) for granted. Even Christians were denied their due as not one of them was given a ticket to contest this time,” lamented Baig.
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah belongs to the Kuruba or shepherd community in the old Mysuru region.
Of the 28 seats, the Congress contested from 21 under a pre-poll seat-sharing arrangement with the JD-S, which fought in seven seats and fielded joint candidates against the main opposition party – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Baig has been sulking against the party leadership since a year for being denied a cabinet post despite being the Muslim face of the party after the death of Jaffer Sharief in November 2018.
“If the Congress fails to win more parliamentary seats or retain the nine seats it won in the 2014 general elections, the party’s leaders like Siddaramaiah, Rao and Venugopal should be held responsible than blaming the party’s high command or Gandhi,” he said.
Baig fears a dozen party legislators may resign in the event of adverse results on Thursday, leading to the fall of the year-old coalition government.
Various exit polls have projected that the BJP would win the majority (20-23) of the 28 seats in the southern state, leaving the Congress with 5-6 and the JD-S with the remaining two.
Playing down Baig’s outburst against the party’s state leaders, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, who was the party’s state unit President for a decade, said the party would wait for the former’s response to the notice served on him.
“What Baig said earlier in the day is his personal view. Rao has sought his explanation for airing them in public ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results. He should have waited till the results came out. If he has reservations about the party’s state unit leaders, he should tell them directly in the party’s forum rather than going public,” Parameshwara said.
Shocked over Baig’s diatribe against him, Siddaramaiah and Venugopal, Rao told reporters that he would wait for the former’s response to the notice.
“I do not want to pre-judge him. I will wait for his reply to the notice. He should have expressed his concerns or opinions in the party forum, as the candidates were selected by the party’s high command and polling in the state was held a month ago in two phases on April 18 and April 23,” Rao added.