The Congress on Tuesday issued a show cause notice to senior leader Roshan Baig after he said party leaders in Karnataka should be held responsible if the Congress performs poorly in the Lok Sabha elections, PTI reported.
Baig’s comments came after the exit polls predicted a debacle for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance. For Karnataka, most exit polls have said that the BJP will win around 18 to 20 seats out of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Earlier on Tuesday, Baig said state party president Dinesh Gundu Rao, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and party general secretary KC Venugopal should be held responsible “if the party comes up with a below par performance in the [Lok Sabha] elections”, according to ANI.
The Congress leader even called Venugopal a buffoon. “I feel sorry for my leader Rahul Gandhi ji,” he told ANI. “Buffoons like Venugopal, the arrogant attitude of Siddaramaiah and the flop show of Gundu Rao...The result is this.”
Baig was issued a show cause for “anti-party activities”, PTI reported. “By making statements to media and causing discomfort to the party and expressing your displeasure publicly through the media, you have conducted yourself by going against the party’s principles,” the notice said. “Your conduct has dented the party’s prestige.”
The notice asked Baig to respond within a week why disciplinary action should not be initiated against him.
Baig, however, dismissed the notice and said it was sent on the orders of the “same people whose incompetencies” he had spoken about, ANI reported.
Baig alleged that portfolios in the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government “were sold” and minorities were ignored. “How can I blame Kumaraswamy for it?” he asked. “He wasn’t allowed to function in this government. From day one, Siddaramaiah had said ‘I am going to be the chief minister’. You have gone to their doorstep to form the government.”
He further alleged: “No seats were given to Christians and only one seat was given to Muslims in Karnataka, they were ignored.”
On Monday, Baig had hinted at quitting the party, and appealed to Muslims to compromise with the situation if the NDA returns to power. “Where we will not get respect, we will not want to remain there,” he had said, according to PTI. “If someone makes us sit with love and affection, we will sit with them.”
However, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara dismissed Baig’s comments as his personal opinion. “It is his personal opinion, not party’s opinion or assessment,” he told ANI. Parameshwara said Baig wanted to contest from Bangalore but was not given a ticket. “That can be one of the reasons behind this,” he said, according to India Today. “As a senior leader, he must have made some observations and it is his purely his opinion. These statements will be noticed by the senior leadership.”
“It’s unbecoming of a politician of his stature to be speaking like this,” Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief Dinesh Gundu Rao told ANI. “It ranks of pure political opportunism.”
Congress leader Rizwan Arshad called Baig an opportunist, according to ANI. “If he has guts let him resign and contest from BJP,” Arshad said. “If Congress is such a bad party which gave him power for last 10 years and made him MLA for last four terms, let him resign and contest from BJP.”
Arshad said Baig’s remarks showed his standard and background. “In public life nobody uses such words for anyone,” Arshad said. “He has no moral right to give advice to the party.”
Baig’s comments come as Venugopal is likely to meet Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday evening. “He [Venugopal] has to be well prepared to counter any possibilities after the election results,” said Parameshwara. “[BS] Yeddyurappa and a few others have been saying that this government will go. We have to take note of this and ensure we keep our MLAs together.”