Karnataka Congress issues showcause notice to Baig

Bengaluru: “K C Venugopal is a buffoon, I feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for my leader Sri Rahul Gandhi ji… Buffoons like Venugopal and arrogant attitude of Siddaramaiah and the flop show president Dinesh Gundu Rao…the result is this (Lok Sabha exit polls forecast),” accused Senior Karnataka Congress leader Roshan Baig yesterday.

His attack comes after the exit polls predicted a rout for the Congress-JD(S) alliance in  the State and that NDA would return to power at the Centre. Baig was denied ticket to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and he was apparently unhappy about it.

Baig further slammed former chief minister and Congress legislative party chief Siddaramaiah by saying that he divided the Hindu society by trying to give separate religion tag to Lingayat community and abusing the Vokkaliga community during his tenure in the top post.

Baig also appealed to the Muslims to compromise with BJP-led NDA being in power and not to remain like cattle and be reduced to a vote bank. He stated that Venugopal who is in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, should have resigned when Congress got 79 seats in assembly polls last year.

Following this, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee issued a show cause notice to Baig seeking explanation in a week for his remarks that has been considered as anti-party activity.

“By making statements to the media and causing discomfort to the party and expressing your (Baig) displeasure publicly through the media, you have conducted yourself by going against the party’s principles. Your conduct has dented party’s prestige,” said the notice.

On failing to reply, further disciplinary action will be taken against Baig said KPCC General Secretary V Y Ghorpade. He signed the notice.

Baig said the “drastic decisions” led to the downfall of the party in the assembly election and now the same was reflected in the Lok Sabha exit poll results too. “Nobody should divide the religion. A chief minister should behave like a statesman. What it means if he (Siddaramaiah) thinks he will win the election by dividing the religion? Isn’t it madness?,” he said.

Baig further alleged that while the Congress leaders tried to divide the Lingayat community, they abused Vokkalikas. “They abused (JDS leaders) H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy. They polarised people. They segregated Vokkaligas and Lingayat communities… Look at the way CLP leader (Siddaramaiah) behaved – his ego. After going to the doors of Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy with a proposal to form a coalition government, now you are saying I am the chief minister and I will be the chief minister again. People don’t like such behaviour,” he stated.

According to political observers, the decision on Lingayat community had cost the Congress dearly in the assembly polls, in which the BJP emerged as the single largest party but fell short of numbers. The Congress and JDS then formed a post-poll alliance and the government.

Baig’s angst was against Congress giving ticket to just one Muslim candidate Rizwan Arshad against the demand for three candidates. “Earlier they used to give tickets to three minorities. Today they gave it to only one,” Baig said. Appealing to Muslims to “compromise with the situation”, he said, “we should not be sacrificed. We should not remain like cattle. We should not become vote bank of one side.”

Asked whether he would quit Congress, Baig said he had not taken any decision yet. Meanwhile, Baig’s son Ruman Baig in a tweet said: “Congress has created a fear psychosis amongst minorities. They’ve created a narrative that minorities should feel guilty if they decide to vote for BJP. But in reality, Congress leadership just uses the minority votebank as a safety cushion.”

Reacting to Roshan Baig’s outburst, Rao said the remarks crossed the limits of party’s discipline. “The results are not yet out but he is giving statements in a way as if he is extremely happy with the projections,” Rao said.

Later in the day in a series of tweets Baig once again hit out at the Congress state leadership and said, he has not bothered to read the notice sent to him by 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 in a tweet.

NT Bureau