Chennai: Accusing the BJP of trying to lure his party’s leaders and legislators, state Congress President and Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Friday indicated that he too was not silent and that many leaders from the saffron party are in touch with him.
His comments came a day after former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar rejoined the BJP quitting Congress. He had joined Congress, ahead of Assembly polls last year, after being denied ticket by the BJP to contest the elections.
”I’m in talks with several (BJP) leaders, many are looking at us, I don’t want to reveal names,” Shivakumar told reporters here as he accused BJP of making all efforts to lure Congress leaders into the party.
”Whom have they left? They are trying every one, I don’t want to take names. But we too know the job, I’m not speaking now that’s all, if not (their) houses would have become empty by now, but we are remaining silent that’s all,” he added.
On some BJP leaders claiming to be in touch with several Congress leaders and legislators, Shivakumar said, ”Don’t they know that I’m too in touch with them. Have they left me? Should I read the list…let’s not do it now.” Noting that Shettar had joined Congress unconditionally after quitting BJP accusing it of insulting and ill treating him, Shivakumar said, considering his stature being a senior leader, Congress gave him ticket to contest Assembly polls and despite him losing the polls by a margin of about 35,000 votes, the party made him an MLC.
”Denying a loyal party worker the ticket, we gave him a ticket and treated him with respect…..we were aware about BJP leaders contacting him from the last two-three months, and he kept saying he will not go. Day before yesterday I had spoken to him, but all of a sudden, he announced quitting the party,” he said.
Shettar may have quit the party, but Congress is like an ocean, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief said hundreds of people may come to the party, and hundreds may quit, but no one can do anything to Congress.
”We have won 136 seats on our strength in assembly polls. Because of our own mistakes we might have lost seven to eight seats, or else our calculation was over 141 seats.” He further said, Shettar quitting the Congress may cause ”just one day’s embarrassment to the party before the media, but the party workers are happy about him going out, as it will help them in organising Congress much better.” ”Congress will give the seat vacated by Shettar to a loyal Congress worker and fight it out…..Congress is like an ocean, we are least bothered (about Shettar joining BJP),” he added.
Shivakumar also said that Congress MLA Laxman Savadi, who too had joined the party quitting BJP ahead of Assembly polls, has assured that he will remain in the Congress and work for the party.
”He (Savadi) is a leader of the party and will be an asset to the party,” he added.
Shivakumar, hitting out at JD(S) and its leader H D Kumaraswamy for allying with BJP which had brought down the Congress-JD(S) coalition government led by him with the help of ”operation Kamala”, said: JD(S) and Kumaraswamy have become spokesperson for BJP.
”They (JDS) are hugging and having a relationship with the party that removed them from power,” he added.
Responding to a question on Minister K N Rajanna’s alleged comments violating the party discipline that has embarrassed the party, Shivakumar said, he (Rajanna) is cabinet minister and the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will respond to it; also high command and national president of Congress are watching.