Bengaluru: Reaffirming his loyalty to party president Rahul Gandhi, Karnataka Congress legislator Roshan Baig on Thursday said he was suspended from the party for speaking the truth on the party’s dismal show in the recent Lok Sabha elections due to the failure of the party’s state leadership.
“As a loyal and dedicated member of the party, I spoke the truth on why the Congress won only one parliamentary seat and lost in 20 seats it contested in alliance with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). I will explain my views to the leadership soon,” Baig told IANS here.
The party’s state unit, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), on Wednesday suspended Baig after the All India Congress Committee (AICC) approved its recommendation for action against him on the basis of an enquiry into his anti-party activities.
“Blaming the party’s state leadership, especially Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao, cannot be termed anti-party when they were responsible for the party’s rout in the general election,” said Baig.
Baig, 67, a former Congress minister, is an eight-time legislator from the Shivajinagar Assembly segment in the heart of Bengaluru.
Upset by Baig’s open criticism of the party’s state leadership, the KPCC on May 21 served notice on him, seeking explanation for his attack on AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal, Siddaramaiah and Rao for the party’s worst performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the southern state.
“Pointing out that the party fared badly in the assembly segments (Badami and Gandhinagar) of the parliamentary seats (Bagalkot and Bangalore Central), represented by Siddaramaiah and Rao, cannot be construed as anti-party activity when the party took lead in my assembly seat (Shivajinagar). I was only stating the facts,” reiterated Baig.
The JD-S also won only one seat though it contested in 7, while the BJP bagged 25 of the 27 seats it contested and supported an Independent (Sumalatha Ambareesh) who wrested the Mandya seat from the JD-S.
Commenting on the May 19 exit polls on May 20, that projected Congress performing poorly in the general elections, Baig lashed out at Venugopal, Siddaramaiah and 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 also blamed party leaders in Mandya for the defeat of the allies’ joint candidate Nikhil as they openly campaigned for Sumalatha and ensured her victory.
“Why was no action taken against the party leaders in Mandya who campaigned for an Independent (Sumalatha), supported by the BJP? Is it not an anti-party activity?” asked Baig.
Nikhil is the son of state Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
Similarly, no action was taken against party leaders like former MLA Rajanna in Tumkur where JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda lost as a joint candidate, as they did not actively campaign for him.
“No notice or explanation was sought from the party leaders in Tumkur by the KPCC. Why target me only for speaking the truth?” asked Baig.
Congress retained Bangalore Rural seat and JD-S Hassan seat.