Karnataka Congress leader dubs party deserters ‘opportunists’


Bangalore : A Congress leader in Karnataka Saturday termed the partymen who deserted to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) as rank “opportunists” who are ideologically weak and lack commitment.

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“They are not original Congressmen. They are party-hoppers. If they were strong ideologically and committed, they would have remained in the party. They keep shifting from one rented house to another. People will teach them a lesson,” said Congress Working Committee member Mallikarjun Kharge.

Kharge was speaking to reporters here at a meet the press programme.

Senior leaders, including D.B. Chandre Gowda, H.C. Srikantaiah (both former ministers) L.R. Shivarame Gowda, N. Gurupadappa and C.P. Yogeshwara have moved to the BJP after failing to secure Congress tickets to contest the parliamentary polls.

The ruling BJP promptly rewarded Chandre Gowda, Shivarame Gowda, Gurupadappa and Yogeshwara with a ticket to contest from the Bangalore North, Mandya, Bidar and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituencies respectively.

Even as Kharge was briefing media about his own candidature from the reserved Gulbarga (SC) Lok Sabha constituency, another Congress leader and former minister V. Somanna joined the BJP after resigning from the Govindraj Nagar assembly segment in the city.

“Though these honourable Congressmen were given opportunity to work for the party and the people, they have chosen to quit just because the party is not in power in the state,” Kharge said.

Kharge said remarks by Chandre Gowda that “the Congress roof was leaking and scores of leaders and cadres were leaving the party that was becoming a sinking ship” were best ignored.