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Congress swings into action to tackle Karnataka discontent


New Delhi, May 22: The Congress high command has swung into action to tackle discontent in Karnataka.

It is notable that senior Karnataka Congress leader and MLA Roshan Baig has hinted at quitting the party after the exit polls predicted Congress' poor performance in Lok Sabha elections in the state.

File photo of Roshan Baig

Baig appealed to Muslims to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if it returns to power.

He said that Muslims must compromise with the situation and should not remain in a party (Congress) that doesn't give them due honour.

"Well if NDA is coming back to power, I humbly appeal to Muslim brothers to learn to compromise with the situation," he told a section of media.

Asked if that means Muslims should join hands with BJP, Baig said if the need arises, they must, as the Congress had given just one ticket to a Muslim leader in Karnataka.

Baig has been miffed with the Congress for two reasons. Firstly, he was not made a minister in the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government; secondly he did not get Lok Sabha ticket.

After exit poll predictions, Roshan Baig appeals Muslims to 'join hands' with BJP if need arisesAfter exit poll predictions, Roshan Baig appeals Muslims to 'join hands' with BJP if need arises

The Congress leadership in Delhi was baffled by Baig's statement. Anticipating trouble for its coalition government in Karnataka, it has swung into action.

The Congress high command has asked former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to stay back in the state. He was planning to come to Delhi to meet Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday.

Party General Secretary and Karnataka In-charge KC Venugopal has been sent to the state to thwart any split in the party.

However, Congress is not concerned about coalition Karnataka government as it has 10 more MLAs than the majority mark.

A senior Congress leader, however, accepted that four MLAs are not happy with the state Congress leadership, and Baig is one of them.

Baig has not minced words in criticising the state Congress leadership. He held Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu, KC Venugopal, and Siddaramaiah for conducting a "flop poll campaign".

Though Congress has issued a show cause notice to Baig and maintained that he doesn't have the support of other MLAs, but in fact, it is concerned that its senior minority leader may join hands with the BJP.

Baig is considered close to senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and has considerable influence among Muslims.

It is not the first time that Baig has spoken against the party. Few months back while speaking at Congress Minority Cell National Meet in Delhi, he had surprised everyone by saying that the Congress was not treating Muslims well in Congress-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh.

A senior Congress source rued that the BJP has been looking to destabilise Karnataka government since long and would not leave any stone unturned to do so if it returns to power at the Centre.

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