Mysuru: Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Friday blamed a section within the party for his defeat in Chamundeshwari assembly constituency in the 2018 assembly elections, saying they did not want him to become Chief Minister once again.
He also hit out at JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy for the collapse of the coalition government last year, alleging he tried to run the administration from a star hotel and could not keep his MLAs together.
Addressing a meeting of Congress leaders from Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysuru, the former chief minister described his defeat as a “grave shock” and ‘unbearable’ and said had he not won from his second seat of Badami, his political future would have doomed.
“I had never expected that I would lose so badly in the previous election, when I went to villages people showed me love and respect, but they did not vote for me. People from BJP, JD(S), also from our party (Congress) are the reason for it,” Siddaramaiah said.
Those who have worked against the party have to introspect and quit, the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly said.
“They should not be there (in the party). There are no bigger villains than those who are in a party and betray it. The party is like a mother, no one should betray the party for petty reasons,” he added.
Then sitting Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah had lost the Chamundeshwari seat to JD(S) nominee G T Deve Gowda by a margin of over 36,042 votes.
He, however, won Badami, the second constituency in North Karnataka contested by him.
Siddaramaiah said the reasons for his defeat included some within the party not wanting him to become chief minister again and also “internal understanding” between BJP and JD(S).
Reacting to Siddaramaiah’s comments, state Congress President D K Shivakumar said the former has not taken any names and spoken generally.
“All of us fought the election under his leadership and wanted him to be our leader and become CM once again. He had the backing from all of us, including party leader Rahul Gandhi or else no CM was allowed to contest from two seats in the past,” he said.
Making his debut in the assembly in 1983, Siddaramaiah got elected from Chamundeshwari on a Lok Dal party ticket.
He has won five times from the constituency and thrice tasted defeat.
Noting that he did not know whether he would contest polls again or not, the 72-year old leader said party workers too had misled him stating that he would be victorious and it pained him like anything.
“If the people in Badami had not got me elected, can you think as to what my political future would have been? My future would have been in the dark,” he said.
When a supporter from the crowd shouted asking him to contest from Chamundeshwari in the next polls, the Congress Legislature Party leader asked: “what should I do, if I’m backstabbed again?” After neighbouring Varuna became a constituency in 2008 following the delimitation, Siddarmaiah represented it till he vacated the seat for his son Yatindra in the 2018 polls and had gone back to his old constituency of Camundeshwari.
Hitting out at Kumaraswamy, the veteran leader said the former’s inability to keep legislators together led to the collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition government paving the way for the BJP to come to power.
“He lost power because he is the person who tried to run the administration from the hotel. He was not at home, did not come to the office, where should MLAs go?. In fact, had we not aligned with JD(S), several of our MLAs would not have quit the party,” he claimed.
After enjoying power, Kumaraswamy was now siding with the BJP by supporting the contentious land reforms and APMC act, he said.
“The JD(S) leader accuses me of pulling down the coalition government, if I had that intention, I wouldn’t have allowed him to become CM at the first place,” Siddaramaiah added.
The coalition government fell after 17 MLAs of the Congress and JDS revolted.