5 Hours ago
BENGALURU: Upset over not being made the Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Legislative Council, senior Congress leader and MLC C M Ibrahim on Thursday said he has decided to quit the party and the post.
Repeatedly targeting Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah of whom he had been a close confidant for long, he said that he would soon announce his next political move.
"I'm happy that the AICC President Sonia Gandhi has relieved me from the burden that was on me, I am now free to take my decision. I will soon speak to my well-wishers in the state and announce my next move. Congress is a closed chapter for me here on," Ibrahim said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said that he had joined Congress for the sake of Siddaramaiah and to make him the Chief Minister, and recounted efforts that he put in this regard.
"....I left a leader like Deve Gowda and quit Janta Dal, which we built for the sake of this man (Siddaramaiah), but what he gave me? people of the state who bless and support me will give a befitting replay to Congress," he added.
Ibrahim, a former Union Minister and one-time close associate of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, had joined Congress in 2008, and had been sulking for some time now, upset with the party and Siddaramaiah.
His decision to quit the Congress comes in the wake of announcement by the party yesterday appointing B K Hariprasad as the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, the post which Ibrahim was eyeing.
The post of Leader of Opposition in the Council had fallen vacant following the retirement of S R Patil, earlier this month, on completion of his tenure as MLC.
Claiming that on his persuasion Siddaramaiah decided to contest from the second seat in Badami during 2018 assembly polls, as it was evident that he would lose in Chamundeshwari (the first seat), upset Ibrahim said, "He (Siddaramaiah) has given me a good reward through Congress, for giving him a new political life...I have accepted it happily."
Stating that he is now free to take any decision, he said, he has three more years of tenure as MLC, but has decided to resign from the post soon.
Ibrahim had earlier too indicated about quitting Congress and joining JD(S), when S R Patil, who was considered close to Siddaramaiah, was chosen as the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, over him.
Asked whether he would join JD(S) now, Ibrahim said, "whether to join JD(S) or Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress) or Lalu Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal) or Mulayam and Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), the thinking is going on. Will also speak to JD(S)' H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy and take the next decision." JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy had earlier met Ibrahim and invited him to return to the party fold.
To a question whether he holds Siddaramaiah responsible for his losing the Leader of Opposition post in the legislative Council, Ibrahim said, "Siddaramaiah, who is now Congress Legislature Party leader should answer that question, and I cannot get along with KPCC President D K Shivakumar because our thinking doesn't match." Ibrahim had left JD(S) after the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
After that he was associated with "AHINDA" (a social movement forged by minorities, backwards and Dalits) in Karnataka led by Siddaramaiah before both joined the Congress.
Reacting, Siddaramaiah said he would talk to Ibrahim and would not like to share his comments to media regarding what he has spoken.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy said he spoke to Ibrahim this morning and would welcome him to JD(S), if he decides to join the party.
"Ibrahim is a former senior leader of the party, who had had a long association with Deve Gowda....He still has affection for Gowda and JD(S), if he decides we will welcome him....last time, when we discussed, I had told him to utlilise the opportunity if Congress gives him Leader of Opposition position, but he is not given the post," he said.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)