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Congress warns of disciplinary action against any dissent in Karnataka

LiveMint logoLiveMint 25-05-2017 Sharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: K.C. Venugopal, Congress general secretary who oversees Karnataka, on Thursday warned of disciplinary action against members speaking against the state leadership of the party.

The warning is an attempt to curb open displays of dissent and outbursts against chief minister Siddaramaiah and other senior leaders.

Venugopal and four other All India Congress Committee (AICC) members have been interacting with district level office bearers to understand and contain the growing differences within the party ahead of the 2018 assembly elections as well as shortlist candidates for the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president.

“We are of the opinion that no leader should issue any statement against any leadership, against party activities or party in the future,” Venugopal.

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Any breach of the dikat would attract “disciplinary action,” he said.

Cracks in the party widened after the June 2016 cabinet reshuffle in which 14 senior ministers were removed by the chief minister and replaced by first time legislators.

Veteran Congress leader and former chief minister of Karnataka S.M.Krishna left the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) earlier this year after being sidelined. Another senior leader, V.Srinivas Prasad, also joined the BJP after falling out with one-time friend Siddaramaiah after he was dropped from the cabinet.

Senior leaders of the Congress party including B. Janardhana Poojary, A.H.Vishwanath and Jaffer Shariff, among others, have openly criticised Siddaramaiah and questioned his style of functioning.

Poojary, a former KPCC president and former union minister, has publicly taken on the chief minister in various forums.

He said that he—among others—had built the party and had every right to air his suggestions to improve the functioning of the Congress in Karnataka.

“If they do not listen to our suggestions, what do you expect us to do? This attitude will result in Congress losing power in 2018,” he told Mint.

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