Following their poor show in the Karnataka Assembly bypolls, Congress state president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday announced his resignation, taking moral responsibility for the party’s humiliating performance. In a big set-back, the Congress, which held 12 of the 15 seats where byelections were held on December 5, won just two while the ruling BJP secured 12 seats. One was won by BJP rebel and independent candidate Sharath Bache Gowda.
"Today I have decided to resign from this post. I have sent my resignation to our party (Interim) president Sonia Gandhi," Rao told reporters at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee office.
The announcement came minutes after Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah announced his resignation from his post. Rao said that he arrived at a conclusion soon after the exit poll results on December 5 showed landslide victory for the BJP in the byelections.
"I too owe a lot of moral and political responsibility. I had discussed with our Delhi based leaders about the poor prospects of our party in the byelection and that if something goes awry, I will have to take a decision accordingly," Rao said.
Earlier in the day, Congress Legislative Party leader in Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah, taking responsibility of the party’s poor show in the Assembly bypolls, tendered his resignation. He also resigned as the Leader Of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly.
"As a leader of legislative party, I need to respect democracy. I have resigned as Congress Legislative Party leader. I have submitted my resignation to Sonia Gandhi Ji," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru.
Interestingly, 12 of the 15 seats that went to bypolls were held by the Congress and the remaining three by its alliance partner JDS. However, the legislators of these constituencies revolted against their respective parties, which led to the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JDS government.
The MLAs later disqualified by the Speaker. However, they joined the BJP and fought on the saffron party's ticket. After the victory, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that these leaders will be made ministers in his government. "We had given assurance to all the disqualified (Congress-JDS) MLAs that they will be made ministers. So there is no question of backtracking from what we promised them. We will make them ministers and give them responsibility to grow our party base in their area."