Looks like the Congress is yet to come to terms with the embarrassing defeat it faced during its no-trust vote against Legislative Council Chairman D H Shankarmurthy. On June 15, the ruling party had lost the motion by one vote. Ever since then, the Congress leaders have been taking digs at the JD(S) and BJP leaders for their “betrayal”.
On the day of the trust vote, Congress MLC V S Ugrappa had alleged of a coup by the JD(S) and BJP MLCs. He had said that a few opposition party MLCs had approached the Congress seeking its support to unseat Shankarmurthy. Ugrappa had accused MLCs K B Shanappa, B J Puttaswamy (both BJP), T A Sharavana (JDS), and Basanagouda Patil Yatnal (Independent, who has backed the BJP) for instigating the Congress to move the no-confidence motion against Shankarmurthy. However, on the day of the floor test, the MLCs had “backstabbed” the Congress, he had said.
On Monday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah too made his ire apparent by taking a dig at Sharavana, in the Legislative Council. During the zero hour, the guilt ridden MLC approached Siddaramaiah, and tried to pacify him about the turn of events during the floor test. The Chief Minister however waved him away saying that there was no point in discussing the subject. When the MLC was walking back to his seat, Ugrappa and his colleague H M Revanna gestured to Sharavana saying that he had “finished” them.
Though Sharavana went back and assumed his seat, he got himself into trouble soon enough. During a discussion on the GST Bill, Sharavana requested the government to reduce the tax on gold and silver. An irked Siddaramaiah instead made a derisive attack against the MLC. Recalling his days with the JD(S) before he joined the Congress, Siddaramaiah said that he had never seen Sharavana in the party in all those years.
However, today the MLC was behaving like he was running the party, he said. “Now that he has got close to H D Deve Gowda, he himself acts like the party leadership,” he said. When Sharavan said that he has been with the JD(S) for the last 25 years, Siddaramaiah called him a “liar”. “Don’t lie. I had served as the party’s president for five years, and general secretary for six years. But in all those years, I had never once seen your face,” said Siddaramaiah.
When Sharavana told Siddaramaiah that he had met him in the Goa airport many years ago, the Chief Minister scoffingly said that many people met him every day, which didn’t amount to anything. Sharavana was subjected to further embarrassment when his own party MLCs Ramesh Babu and Afsar Agha seconded Siddaramaiah by stating that he was not a party old timer. Completely cornered, Sharavana quietly sat down.
Losing the no-confidence motion has cost the Congress dear, given the fact that the Assembly elections are fast approaching. Riding high on the Gundlupet-Nanjangud by poll results, the Congress was over confident about winning the no-trust vote. Having pinned its hopes on the JD(S) and the Independents, the Congress however had not anticipated a defeat.