Bengaluru: Karnataka JD(S) president A H Vishwanath Tuesday resigned from his post owning "moral responsibility" for the party's rout in Lok Sabha polls and flaying the ruling coalition's functioning. The resignation is the first major fallout of the Lok Sabha poll debacle for the coalition with JD(S) and Congress getting a seat each out of 28, even as BJP walked away with 25 seats.
BJP backed independent Sumalatha Ambareesh won the Mandya seat. "I take moral responsibility for the (party's) defeat," said Vishwanath, who is also reportedly unhappy over being sidelined and not being taken into confidence on key issues by his own party. Vishwanath was locked in a public spat in recent weeks with senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah over his functioning as the ruling coalition coordination committee chief and for not preparing the common agenda for the two partners.
Speaking to reporters, Vishwanath said even after a year of the government formation, the coordination committee headed by Siddaramaiah could not prepare a common minimum programme (CMP) for the smooth functioning of the government. He said neither he nor the Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao were part of the coordination committee. The JD(S) leader alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to make JD(S) supremo and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda contest from Tumkur and he was then defeated.
"I have mentioned in my letter (to JDS chief) how a conspiracy was hatched and Deve Gowda was defeated in Tumkur. Trust is important in politics..... a leader (Gowda), a veteran who has significantly contributed to the state and the nation, was made to trust and then was cheated in the election. What else is required now?," he said.
Asked whether Siddaramaiah was responsible for Gowda's defeat, he said he would not name anybody. In his resignation letter to Gowda, Vishwanath said: "There aren't major achievements barring a few in one or two departments. Though it is inappropriate, as a party president I felt there was a pressing need to express my disappointment." Vishwanath said he sympathised with chief minister Kumaraswamy for running the government despite health issues and "torture from friends," an apparent dig at the Congress.
To a question, Vishwanath ruled out joining the BJP. He also made it clear he did not have any ministerial ambitions but added he would not shy away if a ministerial position was given to him. About the longevity of the coalition government, he said it should complete its term and insisted that JD(S) pulling out of the government was not the question.
Vishwanath also apologised for the "disparaging remarks" made by some JD(S) leaders against Sumalatha Ambareesh during the election campaign. "Sumalatha is the daughter-in-law of Mandya. She is our daughter. As a JD(S) president I seek apology on behalf of my party for hurting her sentiments," Vishwanath said. On the rebellion by Congress MLAs Ramalinga Reddy and Roshan Baig against the state leadership, Vishwanath said: "We don't know what's happening in Congress. The Congress leadership is spoiling some people. Those who built the party should be given responsibilities."