Mangaluru: Senior Congress leader, B Janardhan Poojary, went on the offensive again on Tuesday, warning Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that his days in office could be numbered due to his “failure” to handle various issues, including the ongoing bus strike.
Claiming the party high command was watching the developments in the state, he went so far as to maintain there could be a change of leadership in Karnataka.
In the running for the top post were senior leaders, Oscar Fernandes, Mallikarjun Kharge, Motamma and Dr G Parameshwar, he added.
While his strong criticism of the Chief Minister raised a few eyebrows, what surprised many also was the venue he chose to speak from.
Instead of holding the press conference at the office of the District Congress Committee (DCC), Mr Poojary chose to hold it at the Press Club instead.
His move follows a statement by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president, Dinesh Gundurao last week that any press conference where the party and government were criticised should not be held at the party office.
He also made it clear that in future anyone who wanted to hold a press conference there would have to take the permission of the district president.
Mr Gundurao was reportedly responding to complaints by a section of Congress leaders against the press conferences held by Mr Poojary at the District Congress Committee office, where he often targeted Mr Siddaramaiah and some of the ministers.
“I speak in the interest of the party , but sadly our leaders do not understand that. To ensure that nobody gets upset, I am holding this press meet at the Press Club,” Mr Poojary told reporters.
While he did not dwell on this further, his supporters took strong objection to the restrictions placed on him.
“A section of party leaders want to stop him from entering the party office. But nobody can question his integrity as he has served the party in various capacities and his statements are only in the interest of the Congress. Like S M Krishna and Jaffer Sharif, Poojary too has pointed out the mistakes of the present government. But some leaders are trying to silence him. As nobody has the courage to stop him, theyare using indirect methods to do so,” charged a close associate of the veteran leader.
But District Congress Committee vice-president, Shashidhar Hegde claimed it had not banned Mr Poojary from holding a press conference at the party office or from entering it.