Bengaluru: Apparently miffed with the Congress party over the denial of the party ticket to him in the just concluded Lok Sabha polls, former minister, R. Roshan Baig on Monday slammed both KPCC president, Dinesh Gundurao and Congress Legislature Party(CLP) leader Siddaramaiah asserting that "if the party comes up with a below par performance in the elections, these two leaders should be held responsible for the flop show."
He also indicated that he was not averse to the idea of quitting the Congress at this juncture. "Why not? What is wrong if I join the BJP or any other party? This party has insulted me. I am very conscious about my self esteem. I do not allow people to disrespect me in any way. I do not like to stay in a place where my self-respect is hurt," he said cryptically in response to a question during an interaction on an Urdu news channel here.
Mr Baig's veiled threat to quit the party may only add to the already brimming woes of the Congress. Former minister and Gokak Congress MLA, Ramesh Jarkiholi has become a thorn in the flesh of the party for the last few months and has been trying his best to get the maximum Congress legislators on board so that they can resign in one go and reportedly help the BJP topple the coalition government.
Mr Baig said, "These exit polls predict that the BJP led National Democratic Alliance(NDA) will return to power with a huge margin. I knew this from the very first day. The Congress had taken Muslims for granted this time. Muslims too are responsible for this situation.
Muslims, if need be, should not hesitate to vote on the basis of the candidate and not blindly follow a particular party. Be it the Congress or any other party, Muslims should exercise their votes in favour of good candidate rather than vote for a party."
"We need to come out openly and support strong candidates, who can stand by the community, when it needs them badly," he explained.
Training his guns on Mr Gundurao and the ruling coalition’s all powerful co-ordination committee chairman Mr Siddaramaiah, Mr Baig snapped that if the party performs badly as some of the exit polls are predicting, then the entire blame must be shared equally by both of them.
"Their highhandedness and the manner in which they ran the Lok Sabha election campaign here, indicates that they did not work for the Congress party's prospects. Even candidate selection for the LS polls caused a lot of heartburn, why should Muslim representation come down in this party? This is a result of Mr Rao and Mr Siddaramaiah misguiding central leaders of the Congress," he retorted.