Karnataka Cong MLAs worked against me, should be expelled: KH Muniyappa
Veteran Congress leader KH Muniyappa, a former lawmaker from the Kolar Lok Sabha constituency, on Wednesday accused his party’s MLAs of working towards his loss and said he had written to party president Sonia Gandhi to expel them.
The seven-time MP from Kolar, which is reserved for candidates from Scheduled Caste communities, was unsuccessful in the Lok Sabha elections in May for the first time since 1991. Rubbing salt to the wound was the fact that Muniyappa lost to a relatively unknown S Muniswamy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by a margin of more than 200,000 votes.
Speaking to HT, Muniyappa said he had written to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, Congress Karnataka unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah to expel the MLAs.
Muniyappa was the candidate of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition and was the overwhelming favourite to win the seat, considering the fact that of the eight assembly segments in the constituency five had been won by the Congress, two by the JD(S) and one by an Independent MLA, who was then allied with the Congress.
“The Congress MLAs identified the BJP candidate and they took the responsibility and funded the campaign,” Muniyappa said.
He said former assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was the leader of this faction.
“I contested the seat on the direction of then Congress president, and among the 28 constituencies in the state, this was the one, where we had won six seats. Unfortunately, they ditched me,” Muniyappa said.
“Congressmen defeated Congress, there was no wave here. I was the one who helped them win in their constituencies and they ditched me. So, they should be expelled,” he said.
Muniyappa’s loss was one of the shocks of the polls, as the coalition went on to win only two of the 28 seats in the state. The BJP swept all the reserved constituencies, including that of former MP Mallikarjun Kharge in Gulbarga.
His outburst came on a day when he submitted a report to a fact-finding committee of the Congress that was set up to look into the reasons for the huge loss in the polls.
Ramesh Kumar said, while speaking to HT, he did not wish to respond to the comments.
“Having occupied a very important office, having just come out of it, I have a duty cast upon me to behave well. Even at this stage, I cannot afford to insult that office. I shall have to hold restraint and behave in a dignified manner. I choose to remain silent,” said the former speaker.
Repeated attempts to reach Gundu Rao for comment went unanswered.