Rajya Sabha member Ayanur Manjunath has termed his removal from the post of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson arbitrary.

Speaking to journalists here on Sunday, he demanded that Deputy Chief Minister and the party’s State unit president K.S. Eshwarappa make public the reason behind relieving him from the post.

“It is unfortunate that speaking in favour of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) workers was considered as indiscipline. I want to know why the party did not crack the whip on leaders such as M.P. Renukacharya, Balachandra Jarkiholi and Belur Gopalakrishna who have repeatedly embarrassed the party,” he said.

Referring to Mr. Eshwarappa’s statement that the party enjoyed the prerogative to nominate its functionaries to any post and to remove them, Mr. Manjunath said, “Mr. Eshwarappa should change his attitude and style of functioning.”

He launched a tirade against Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister R. Ashok. Mr. Ashok, who failed to protect the interests of KSRTC workers, should resign from the post, he demanded.

The new agreement which the State government and representatives of the Joint Committee of Trade Unions of State Road Transport Undertakings arrived at on September 14 should be quashed, he said.

The MP said the BJP had neglected trade unions in the State. The request of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) to nominate trade union activist D.K. Sadashiva to the Legislative Council was not considered, he said.

“Interestingly, Special Representative of the State in New Delhi V. Dhananjay Kumar, who was associated with the BMS like me, has also been targeted at the same time,” he said.

Mr. Manjunath said that instead of targeting him for highlighting the lapses in the agreement on pay revision, the government should have addressed the lapses. He said the salary that would be paid to KSRTC staff as per the new agreement would be less than the pay scale fixed by the management on August 14. The workers would realise this when they would get the salary for September. The workers would again launch a strike seeking fulfilment of their demands, he added.

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