Senior Karnataka Congress leader and former MP A H Vishwanath, who had been openly critical of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the organisation in recent months, today quit the ruling party along with his supporters.
Vishwanath, an All India Congress Committee member, submitted his resignation to Karnataka Pradesh Congress Chief G Parameshwara at the party office here and said he was leaving with “great pain”.
“With a heavy heart, I’m quitting the Congress after about a 40-year long association with it,” he said.
“One great pain I have is that despite serving the party for so long with all honesty, no party leader including Mallikarjuna Kharge (Congress leader in Lok Sabha) showed the courtesy to call and talk to me. This shows cultural bankruptcy within Congress. I’m deeply saddened by it,” he added.
Vishwanath, who had served as a cabinet minister in the Veerappa Moily and S M Krishna governments, is expected to join the JD(S).
Hailing from the Kuruba community to which Siddaramaiah also belongs, Vishwanath has been accusing the chief minister of not allowing leaders from the community to emerge within the party.
He is the second senior Congress leader to quit the party in recent months after former union minister S M Krishna who has joined the BJP, with the state set to go for assembly elections early next year.
Earlier in January this year, former Karnataka Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader S M Krishna had resigned from the primary membership of the party to join the BJP, which is seeking to dislodge the Siddaramaiah government in the state.
A considerably large section of Congress leaders in Karnataka are reportedly unhappy with the style of functioning of Siddaramaiah and this will not go down well Congress’s poll chances in the next assembly polls, scheduled for early next year.
(With PTI inputs)