Bangalore, Jul 22 (DHNS) : The Congress party, after realising the blunder it committed by not ensuring the victory of Iqbal Ahmed Saradagi in the Legislative Council elections, on Saturday tendered an apology to the minority communities.
The defeat of Saradagi was discussed at length at the co-ordination committee meeting held at the Congress Bhavan in Bangalore.
Briefing the media after the meeting, KPCC president G Parameshwara said the party had taken cognisance of his defeat.
“The party apologises to the minority communities for this loss,” he said. He was flanked by Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, Council floor leader S R Patil and AICC secretary Hanumantha Rao.
The committee, constituted by the party, has held AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah responsible for Saradagi’s defeat.
To a question by a reporter whether the leaders owned moral responsibility for the defeat, Siddaramaiah said: “There is no question of us taking moral responsibility. The committee has held that there was no coordination between the three of us.
I’d like to say that the coordination is there. But, since we don’t know whether the report has been accepted or not, we wouldn’t want to comment on this further,” said Siddaramaiah.
No leadership change
Despite the leadership being questioned in the State, Hanumantha Rao said Mistry had made it clear in the meeting that there would be no change of guard. Neither Siddaramaiah nor Parameshwara would be changed.
The party would face the next Assembly elections under the joint leadership of these leaders, he said.
Parameshwara, replying to a question, said that the party would have no truck with the Janata Dal (Secular) in the next elections. The Congress will consolidate its traditional secular vote base, he said.
Bitter truths confront leaders at Congress meet
State Congress president G Parameshwara and AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry had to face embarrassing questions at the party’s co-ordination committee meeting on Saturday.
A majority of the questions posed to them went unanswered by the duo.
Sources in the party said that a section of the senior leaders asked Parameshwara and Mistry to explain the reasons for convening the meeting now, instead of holding it before finalising candidates for the MLC elections, in which party candidate Iqbal Saradagi was defeated.
It is said some leaders asked Parameshwara and Mistry to explain why the party took the risk of fielding M R Seetharam as the fourth candidate, when it could comfortably win only three seats in the Council polls. The casual approach to elections has cost the party dear, the agitated members said.
They also sought reasons for not conducting the meeting to discuss the candidate to take on D V Sadananda Gowda of the BJP when he contested the MLC election or to explore the possibility of making the most of the divisions in the BJP by fielding a candidate for the poll to the seat which fell vacant following the death of Dr V S Acharya.
The unilateral decisions taken by the leaders have not done good to the party, which has to gear up for the Assembly polls in the near future, the members said.
The meeting was attended by three union ministers - Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily and K H Muniyappa - AICC general secretaries Oscar Fernandes, B K Hariprasad and MPs, including Dharam Singh and Rehman Khan. Though union minister S M Krishna was in Bangalore, he did not make it to the meeting as he is said to be indisposed.
Sources said the Muslim convention of the JD(S) last Sunday had a negative impact on the Congress. Many leaders said the Congress, while focusing on the BJP, was ‘too soft’ on the JD(S). The Congress should take on the JD(S) more ‘aggressively’ before the elections, by highlighting its wrongs. It is said Siddaramaiah wanted the party to make it clear that the Congress would not align with the JD(S).
Not knowing the rules of the party caused embarrassment to MLC Motamma. In her capacity as the floor leader of the party in the Council, she was a member on the co-ordination committee of the party. But with S R Patil replacing her, she is no more a member.
But not knowing this, Motamma came to the Congress Bhavan to attend the meeting only to be stopped at the entrance. Motamma immediately turned towards the waiting media cameras and poured out her discontent.
“I am hurt by the treatment I have been meted out by the senior leaders. I was asked to participate in the meeting. I have worked for the party for the last 35 years, but my name has been excluded from the list,” she rued.Immediately af ter this, she was called in and pacified by the leaders.