Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader, K.H. Muniyappa on Wednesday named former Karnataka assembly speaker, K.R. Ramesh Kumar among other local leaders of the party as the reason behind the former’s loss from Kolar parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha elections.
Muniyappa told a Congress parliamentary elections fact finding committee that Kumar and other party leaders had colluded with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to engineer the defeat of the seven time member of parliament and former central minister for railways.
“They encouraged the BJP and its candidate," Muniyappa told Mint over the phone on Wednesday. Muniyappa said that he has written a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal, state president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Siddaramaiah to expel Kumar and others from the party with immediate effect.
“I have asked that these people should be expelled and purified from such elements or the party will not survive," he said.
Ironically, Ramesh Kumar had ruled to disqualify 17 Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) legislators from the assembly for anti-party activities and siding with the BJP to bring down the H.D.Kumaraswamy-led coalition government.
Kumar, as the assembly speaker, had come down heavily on the rebels and even ruled to debar them from contesting the bypolls who have now approached the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.
The rebels and the BJP, that allegedly helped engineer the rebellion, criticised the speaker’s ruling as “excessive and politically motivated".
“I do not want to react," Ramesh Kumar told Mint. He said that he was already the assembly speaker during the parliamentary elections and played no role in the polls.
Muniyappa said that he had informed Siddaramaiah of Kumar’s alleged anti-party activities and asked the latter to intervene and stop them.
Muniyappa’s allegations added to the problems of the Congress that was reduced to just one seat in the parliamentary elections and eventually leading to loss of power in the state as well. Ever since the Congress joined hands with its rival, the JD(S) to keep the BJP out of power after the 2018 assembly polls, the coalition faced one crisis after another that eventually led to its collapse last month after a string of resignations.
B.S. Yediyurappa has since taken over as chief minister but the political uncertainty continues in a flood ravaged state. Though dissent has raised its head within the one-month-old government, the chief minister can focus all his energies in quelling it as the Opposition has been busy fighting its own battles that include trading charges and accusing each other of sabotaging the coalition government.
The Congress had constituted a fact finding committee to ascertain the reasons for its poor showing in the Lok Sabha polls. Even the JD(S) was reduced to just one seat while the BJP won 25 out of the total 28 parliamentary seats in the state indicating how the coalition had forced voters to abandon the two parties and back Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP.
“All this will be referred to the disciplinary committee and once the facts have been verified, we will take action," Dinesh Gundu Rao, the president of the state Congress said.