Top Karnataka Congress leaders quit posts after bypoll loss
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, Siddaramaiah, who is also the leader of opposition in the assembly, and who had singlehandedly led the campaign of the party, quit saying he accepted “moral responsibility” for the defeat.Updated: Dec 10, 2019 06:16 IST
With the Congress winning a mere two of the 15 seats which went to bypolls, the top leaders of the party in Karantaka accepted responsibility for the outcome and offered their resignations to the party high command.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, Siddaramaiah, who is also the leader of opposition in the assembly, and who had singlehandedly led the campaign of the party, quit saying he accepted “moral responsibility” for the defeat.
The Congress was defending 12 of the 15 seats which went to bypolls but managed to win only Hunsur and Shivajinagar.
In a letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Siddaramaiah said: “I express my sincere regrets for not being able to give satisfactory results in the recently concluded by-elections held to Karnataka Legislative Assembly despite my sincere efforts. I deem it necessary to step down as leader of CLP by taking moral responsibility.”
The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao also expressed disappointment at the outcome of the bypolls and said he would also step down from his post. Earlier in the day, another senior Congress leader and the party’s main trouble shooter in the state, DK Shivakumar, said: “We have accepted defeat as people have accepted defectors.” While he said they had to agree with the mandate in the bypolls, he added: “We don’t have to be disheartened. By-elections are different and general elections are different. Congress won’t vanish. It has a strong hold. No one can end Congress.”
He said the party must realise its mistakes and rectify them, but refused to comment on whether the state and central leadership had failed the party.
Even prior to the bypoll campaign, several senior Congress leaders had expressed opposition to what they called the “unilateral” decision making and “dictatorial” attitude of Siddaramaiah. Former union minister KH Muniyappa and Congress general secretary BK Hari Prasad had publicly voiced their misgivings about the state leadership and demanded a change.
This is only likely to accelerate in the coming days.
A former MP of the party, who did not want to be identified, said, “Siddaramaiah has to shoulder the entire blame for this defeat. He went around campaigning negatively. He didn’t ask for votes for the Congress but only exhorted the electorate to defeat the defectors. It is good that both he and Dinesh have offered to resign.”
Congress party spokesperson UT Khader though said, “In a democracy, all of us have to respect the people’s verdict. It is true that results have not been according to our expectations. We will sit, discuss and analyse where we have to take corrective steps. I am confident we will bounce back.”
The JD(S), which was probably the biggest loser in the polls, without a single win, did not offer any comments on the outcome.
Only former CM HD Kumaraswamy tweeted: “As if to support the opinion expressed by a senior BJP leader that the current government is abhorrent, the intelligent voters in 15 seats have voted for a ‘holy’ and ‘stable’ government and I congratulate them for that.”
Political analyst Manjunath said that both the main opposition parties are likely to see a churn due to the outcome of the bypolls.