The defeat of Congress candidates in the byelections to both the Gulbarga South and Kadur Assembly constituencies has led to the resignation of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president R.V. Deshpande and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah. Both of them have sent across their resignation letters to All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi.

Though his term as KPCC president is coming to an end and the KPCC on Wednesday authorised Ms. Gandhi to appoint a new president and executive committee members, Mr. Deshpande has written to Ms. Gandhi requesting her to relieve him from the post at the earliest.

Denying that his resignation was a gimmick or to please somebody, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that it was a conscientious decision and hoped that Ms. Gandhi would accept it. He said that he had campaigned day and night for Mr. Kemparaj in the villages for a week, but still people did not vote for him, and his party had been pushed to the third position. He said that he was not ready to pass on the buck to anybody, but maintained that he was not escaping from the responsibility. It was wrong to link the Congress padayatra and the result of the byelections, he added.

Mr. Deshpande said that the party had worked well in both the constituencies, but Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Aruna Chandrashekhar Patil Revoor won because of the sympathy factor. In Kadur, the BJP used government machinery, money and muscle power, he alleged.

The results, he said, proved that the BJP won because of the division in the secular votes.

Both the leaders said that the reasons for the defeat of the party would be discussed in the KPCC meeting. Mr. Deshpande said that he had asked the presidents of the Gulbarga and Chickmaglur district Congress committees to send voting pattern in the two constituencies.

It may be recalled that Congress had won only in Govindaraja Nagar byelections since the BJP came to power in the State.

On hearing the news of resignation by Mr. Siddaramaiah, his supporters rushed to his residence and demanded that he not press for it, but he made it clear that there was no change in his decision.