The Congress Tuesday sought to downplay Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's statement that he would quit if the Congress did not stop its MLAs from criticising his style of functioning, saying it could be a case of "individual strains". "I think there are cases of individual strains and sometimes it may happen, but there is absolutely nothing as serious as it is made out in the Press. There are strains because some individual may say something but it is not an institutional response," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
He denounced Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde for referring to Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao on Twitter "as a guy who ran behind a Muslim lady" after the latter questioned the minister about his achievements. "What is much more serious in Karnataka is the kind of perverse statements you are hearing from a Union cabinet minister from Karnataka," Singhvi said.
On Monday, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy threatened to step down over adverse comments by a Congress MLA, prompting the coalition partner to swing into damage control mode. Congress general secretary K C Venugopal and incharge of party affairs in the state said the party high commandhas full faith in Kumaraswamy and the State government. Irked over a Congress MLA demanding that Siddaramaiah be made the chief minister again during an event on Sunday, Kumaraswamy said "If my way of functioning is not acceptable, then I am ready to quit. I don't want to continue also. I am not ready to stick to the chair."
The Chief Minister said the Congress and the JDS have formed the government to give good governance here and "we are doing a good job." Congress MLA ST Somashekhar had claimed during the event that development works had come to a grinding halt here and in other parts of the state.
Reacting to the comments, Kumaraswamy said "Our government has taken up projects worth Rs one lakh crore including suburban train, elevated corridor and peripheral ring road." He was speaking to reporters after dedicating a six-coach metro rail on 'Green Line' at the Mantri Square Metro Station.
A red-faced Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao, who too was present there, said such statements by the Congress MLAs were not acceptable. "Today Rs 8,000 crore worth work is happening. I condemn such public statements and will issue a showcause notice....," Rao told reporters.
"Morning I saw S T Somashekhar's statement. It breaches the disciplinary line. The coalition government has done lots of development work in Bengaluru." The works sanctioned by the previous Siddaramaiah government were also being taken up, he said. Noting that Somashekhar was chairperson of the Bengaluru Development Authority, he said, "His public statement is inappropriate. I condemn it and I will issue a show-cause notice to him."
"If there are any shortcomings in our government, they should discuss straightaway with chief minister or Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, who is in charge minister of Bengaluru... We cannot tolerate indiscipline," he said. Rao later tweeted that Somashekar expressed regret and apologised to the Chief Minister for any anguish caused.
However, Rao warned all Congress leaders to be careful in their comments. He said Somashekar has made statements which crosses the 'Lakshmanrekha' of coalition politics which cannot be tolerated, especially when he is holding a responsible position.
"Its an act of indiscipline and action will be initiated," he said. "The Congress' coalition with the JDS is to take on the communal forces and unseat the anti-democratic forces ruling the country, not to indulge in petty politicking." Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said the Congress High Commandhas full faith in the Karnataka government and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
"The Government is moving ahead with popular and welfare measures reflecting the ambitions of the people in Karnataka," he tweeted. Earlier, he said the party would not tolerate such statements. "Instructed Karnataka PCC to send a showcause notice to Somashekhar MLA seeking clarification on his controversial remarks.
"If the explanation is not satisfactory, party will take strong disciplinary action.@INCIndia will not tolerate any such indiscipline (sic) statements and actions," he tweeted.