Congress panel to ascertain cause of Saradagi's defeat

Congress panel to ascertain cause of Saradagi's defeat

Act against black sheep or well quit: Muslim leaders

Congress panel to ascertain cause of Saradagi's defeat

Leaders, office bearers and BBMP councillors from the minority communities in the Congress on Tuesday threatened the State leadership that they would resign en masse, if stringent action was not initiated immediately against the ‘black sheep’ who cross voted in Monday’s election to the Legislative Council from the Assembly.

Cross voting had resulted in the defeat of the minority community candidate Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi.

Enraged leaders of the minority community including legislators Roshan Baig, Tanveer Sait, N A Haris and Naseer Ahmed submitted a memorandum to KPCC president G Parameshwara and CLP leader Siddaramaiah, demanding that those MLAs who had cross voted be expelled from the party.

They also insisted that tickets should not be given to such MLAs to contest elections in future and that the matter should be brought to the notice of the high command.

Pacifying them, Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah announced the constitution of a five-member inquiry committee headed by V R Sudarshan, to ascertain the cause of Saradagi’s defeat. Allam Veerabhadrappa, H K Patil, B L Shankar and Naseer Ahmed are the other members of the panel.

During the meeting, there was a detailed discussion as to who could have engineered the cross voting apart from the role of JD(S) and its continued ‘sabotage’ of Congress’ prospects.

The minority community leaders did not even rule out the possibility of the high command’s role in the cross voting. Some of the members were of the strong opinion that the party leaders were themselves behind this defeat, just to give Seetharam, the fourth candidate, an edge.

Sources said that MLAs would rarely venture into defying the party whip and indulging in horse trading and the ‘mischief’ by the high command could not be ruled out.

The partymen also deliberated on whether there was a need for fielding a fourth candidate. Many were of the opinion that the party should have concentrated only on ensuring that three candidates emerged victorious.

Speaking to the media, Parameshwara said the defeat had come as a shock to the party and that suitable action would be taken against whoever was behind the cross voting.

“We had decided that all the three candidates would get 19 votes each, and the remaining 14 votes would go to Seetharam. But Seetharam has got 20 votes, while the official candidate has got just 15 votes.

We have lost five votes. If an independent candidate had not been fielded, we would have won. Also, JD(S) is responsible for our defeat,” he said.

Expressing shock, Saradagi said he was chosen by AICC chief Sonia Gandhi herself and that he was the official candidate.

“This has mightily embarrassed the State Congress. Horse trading is definitely not a good development. The matter will hopefully be brought to the notice of the high command,” he said.

Sait said that the defeat had come at a crucial time for the Congress.

“A minority community member has been defeated and a wrong message has been sent. Also, we want to ascertain the attitude of the party towards the minorities.

There is no Muslim MP from the State, nor is there a Muslim in the Union cabinet representing the South. It pains us greatly that an official candidate had to suffer defeat,” he said.

Haris said the minority community leaders thought it inevitable to register their protest.

“We have demanded that Saradagi be accommodated elsewhere. This defeat has come as a big setback for the party and the community. The black sheep have shown that they have no principles or commitments to the party,” he said.

It is also learnt that Saradagi blamed Siddaramaiah for not ensuring that the five independents voted for Seetharam.

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