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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Karnataka Congress MLA remains defiant after calling party leader ‘joker’


Congress MLA Roshan Baig who embarrassed the party’s Karnataka unit on Tuesday after he blamed the state leadership following the exit polls which predicted a poor showing for the Congress-JD(S), remained defiant after being served a notice for his statements.

“I have been directed by the PCC president to ask you to show cause within a week why disciplinary action should not be initiated for an anti-party activity for making such public statements against the beliefs of the party,” said the notice issued by Karnataka Congress general secretary VY Ghorpade.

Baig dismissed the notice in a series of tweets criticising the leaders and claimed that he had not said anything against the party. “I’ve received the show-cause notice sent to me by the KPCC. I’m not even going to [bother] to read it because it’s clearly sent by the orders of the same people whose incompetencies were highlighted by me,” he said.

Baig said the state leaders’ arrogance was immeasurable, claiming that they had “sold ministerial portfolios at exorbitant rates” even while attacking the opposition of horse trading. “The incumbent [government] is being man-handled by the state [Congress] leaders as well,” he said.

Baig also responded to the charge that he had not brought up these issues internally before going to the press. He said that he had highlighted “several instances of murky ongoings” with the Congress high command, but that these were ignored.

“Be assured several grievances were raised by me internally before going on public record,” he added.

“Leadership defines a party and I’ve hit out at the leaders, unfortunately, attacks at the leadership turns into an attack at the party. There are several senior leaders who were capable of running the party but were sidelined,” said Baig.

Earlier in the day, Baig suggested that he wouldn’t be surprised if the exit polls result turned out to be true. He had expressed unhappiness with the party’s decision to field only one Muslim candidate in the 21 seats that the Congress contested in Karnataka.

He went on to say that the Muslim community must stop behaving like a voting bloc and support the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if need be. “All I’m saying is that the community elders should sit and discuss. How long will be treated like this, like a vote bank?”

“Even if the BJP wins 18 seats (out of 28) in the state isn’t it a slap on the face of the party that it couldn’t do anything despite being in an alliance [with Janata Dal (Secular)]? I hold this flop show president of the party [Dinesh Gundu Rao] responsible for this,” Baig said. He said it wasn’t just Gundu Rao but also Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah and AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, who should share the blame.

The exit polls on Sunday predicted that the BJP will win a majority of the 28 seats in Karnataka.

Baig, a seven-time MLA, reserved the harshest words for Congress general secretary KC Venugopal and called him a “joker”. Asked if he would quit the Congress, he said, “Let’s see what happens on May 23.”

Congress leaders were surprised by Baig’s comments and said he hadn’t expressed these views to party leaders before. “He has been influenced by the exit polls. I think he should not count his chickens before they hatch. It is pure political opportunism and nothing else,” Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said.

Venugopal was scheduled to hold discussions with chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and senior Congress leaders about the likely outcome of the Lok Sabha polls. “We will take action at our own convenience. Definitely, it will be discussed with Venugopal,” Gundu Rao said

Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said that one of the reasons for Baig’s outburst was because he was not named as the Congress candidate for the Bengaluru Central constituency.