Says he will continue as MLA and will not quit Congress

Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday said he was firm in his decision to resign as Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.

The Congress leader quit the post on Thursday, soon after the party announced its candidates for the elections to the Legislative Council.

Mr. Siddaramaiah, who was upset over the denial of ticket to the former Union Minister C.M. Ibrahim, expressed displeasure, in his letter to the party president Sonia Gandhi, over being continuously sidelined by the party high command.

Speaking to mediapersons, Mr. Siddaramaiah said he would continue as an MLA and not quit the party. He said it was an insult to his self-respect and to the post he held, and made it clear that he would not retrace his step. All-India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Madhusudhan Mistry, in-charge of Karnataka, who went to Hubli via Bangalore to attend the national executive committee meetings of the National Students Union of India and All-India Youth Congress Committee, did not meet Mr. Siddaramaiah.

The Congress Legislature Party meeting, scheduled at the Vidhana Soudha, was cancelled as Mr. Siddaramaiah failed to attend it.

It is said that he showed lukewarm response when the AICC general secretary requested him to attend the Congress Working Committee on June 4.

With this development, he is unlikely to attend the Youth Congress meetings and conventions in Hubli and Davangere commencing from tomorrow, sources said.

Support

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Motamma, who has been fielded as a candidate in the Council elections said that the party would go to Assembly elections under the leadership of Mr. Siddaramaiah.

The former Railway Minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief also called on Mr. Siddaramaiah and discussed the issue. Mr. Sharief said the high command should have handled the situation in a better way.

“Mr. Siddaramaiah is not just a Congress leader, but also a prominent backward classes leader.” In an attempt woo him back to the Janata Dal (Secular) fold, JD(S) MLA C.S. Putte Gowda from Hassan district and close to the JD(S) party supremo H.D. Deve gowda visited Mr. Siddaramaiah's residence.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) member Nagaraj Yadav charged the State party leadership of continuously sidelining Mr. Siddaramaiah, the only prominent backward classes leader in the party. According to party sources, Mr. Siddaramaiah would not have gone to the extent of putting in his papers, had he been taken into confidence before announcing the list of four candidates for the Council elections.

Tactics?

A senior leader, who did not want to be named, said this might have been a strategy of Mr. Siddaramaiah, who has an eye on the post of KPCC president presently occupied by G. Parameshwara, as that would enable him to claim the post of Chief Minister, if the party gets a majority.

Talks

Mr. Siddaramaiah said he contacted party leader Oscar Fernandes and Mr. Mistry in the morning, but refused to divulge details of his talks.

Asked if he would change his mind if the high command insists, Mr. Siddaramaiah said: “This is not child's play.”