Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president B.L. Shankar, the former Union Minister and MLC M.V. Rajasekharan and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Friday called for unity among Congress leaders in ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party instead of expressing differences in public.

Mr. Shankar, who delivered the introductory speech at the 128th Congress Foundation Day organised by the KPCC here, appealed to senior leaders sitting not to make public statements that would mar the interests and dignity of the Congress.

Mr. Rajasekharan was the first leader to acknowledge the importance of his advice and assured that all the leaders henceforth would cooperate and work unitedly under the leadership of KPCC president G. Parameshwara.

Taking a cue from him, Mr. Siddaramaiah jumped on the bandwagon when he also made it clear that no one should say that there was no unity in the State unit in future.

“Let us stop speaking on those lines and work unitedly and rededicate ourselves to oust the BJP from power,” he added.

Echoing the sentiments expressed by the former Railway Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief on the urgent need to protect secularism and democracy in the interests of the country as well as the interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward classes, minorities and women and social justice, he said that the party should learn lessons from history.

Dr. Parameshwara, who inaugurated the function and paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait, reiterated his demand for the resignation of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar as BJP MLA Basavaraj Patil Attur had announced his resignation from the Assembly.

He alleged that the BJP had brought disrepute to Karnataka from its misrule and several ministers had been jailed and facing criminal cases.

Mr. Sharief said he was sad that there was no constitutional machinery at work when a senior leader of the ruling party resigns on filing of cases by the Lokayukta against him, forms his own party and starts attacking the government sitting in the Opposition. A Deputy Chief Minister, whose house was raided by the Lokayukta, would refuse to resign, he added and expressed his dismay over such developments.

The Congress leader called for appointing a committee of constitutional experts, who could think of ways to protect constitutional institutions and democracy from such elements. How could the splinter group of the BJP claim that there was a BJP-KJP coalition in the State, he asked.

Leader of Opposition in the Council S.R. Patil spoke. MLC V.R. Sudarshan, KPCC secretary B. Shivamurthy, Mahila Congress president Manjula Naidu were present.

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