K’taka Cong leader Roshan Baig appeals to Muslims to join hands with BJP 

Roshan Baig, Karnataka crisis, The Federal, English news website
Baig was denied a BJP ticket in the bypolls for the Sivajinagar constituency due to his alleged link to the scam

Muslim Congress leader and former Minister Roshan Baig in Karnataka on Tuesday (May 21) hinted at quitting the party and appealed to religious minorities in the state to join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party, if need be.

Speaking to News18 Urdu channel, Baig accused Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, of conducting a flop show during elections.

“Some of the Congress leaders were flying high in the sky, it’s time they come down and see the ground reality,” Baig said. He said it was known from the start that the party would not perform better this election.

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Baig’s frustrations comes in the midst of exit polls indicating a win for the BJP in maximum seats in Karnataka. Several exit polls released on May 19 predicted the BJP to win 20-22 seats of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the State.

Baig, a sitting MLA from Shivajinagar, was a ticket aspirant for the Bengaluru Central seat. However, the party gave ticket to another Muslim candidate, Arshad Rizwan. Ever since, the latter expressed discontent with the party. He even failed to get a cabinet berth in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

“If they (Congress party) treat us like bonded labourers, then goodbye. Where we get no respect, we will not remain there. If someone makes us sit with love and affection, we will be with them.  Congress just gave one ticket to Muslim and no ticket to Christians. Why?” Baig said.

Baig was accused of violating Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Earlier this year, the enforcement directorate issued a notice to Baig and his family members of committing violations under FEMA.

The state Congress was quick to dismiss his comment and said it was his opinion. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara said, it is his personal comment, it is not party’s opinion or assessment.

The Congress, later, issued a showcause notice to Baig seeking a reply in a week.

The disgruntled MLA, if quits the party, the coalition which battles to keep the numbers intact to ensure the coalition government continues, will be in crisis mode.

Even as the Lok Sabha results will be announced on May 23, the tenure of the Congress-JD(S) government will be put to test soon after. The BJP was firm on forming the government if the Party was to win more seats than its coalition partners.

Political analyst Harish Ramaswamy told The Federal earlier that if Congress gets seats in single digit in Karnataka, many leaders would shift to the BJP and it would become tough for the party to gain strength in the days to come.

Baig declined to comment for the story.

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