'People of the state who bless me will give a befitting replay to the Congress.'
Upset over not being made Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka legislative council, senior Congress leader and MLC Chand Mahal Ibrahim on Thursday said he has decided to quit the part.
Repeatedly targeting Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah of whom he had been a close confidant for long, he said he would soon announce his next political move.
"I'm happy that AICC (All India Congress Committee) President Sonia Gandhi has relieved me from the burden that was on me. I am now free to take my decision. I will soon speak to my well-wishers in the state and announce my next move. The Congress is a closed chapter for me here on," Ibrahim said.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said he had joined the Congress for the sake of Siddaramaiah and to make him the chief minister, and recounted efforts that he put in this regard.
".....I left a leader like Deve Gowda and quit the Janata Dal, which we built for the sake of this man (Siddaramaiah), but what he gave me?.....people of the state who bless and support me will give a befitting replay to the Congress," he added.
Ibrahim, a former Union minister and one-time close associate of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, had joined the Congress in 2008, and had been sulking for some time now, upset with the party and Siddaramaiah.
His decision to quit the Congress comes in the wake of announcement by the party on Wednesday appointing B K Hariprasad as Leader of the Opposition in the legislative council, the post which Ibrahim was eyeing.
The post had fallen vacant following S R Patil's retirement earlier this month, on completion of his tenure as MLC.
Claiming that on his persuasion, Siddaramaiah decided to contest from the second seat in Badami during the 2018 assembly polls, as it was evident that he would lose in Chamundeshwari, an upset Ibrahim said, "He (Siddaramaiah) has given me a good reward through the Congress, for giving him a new political life....I have accepted it happily."
Ibrahim said he has three more years of tenure as an MLC, but has decided to resign as a legislator soon.
Ibrahim had earlier indicated about quitting the Congress and joining the Janata Dal-Secular, when S R Patil, who was considered close to Siddaramaiah, was chosen as Leader of the Opposition in the legislative council, over him.
Asked whether he would join the JD-S now, Ibrahim said, "whether to join JD-S or Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress) or Lalu Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal) or Mulayam and Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), the thinking is going on. Will also speak to H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy of the JD-S and take the next decision."
To a question whether he holds Siddaramaiah responsible for his losing the Leader of Opposition post in the legislative council, Ibrahim said, "Siddaramaiah, who is now CLP (Congress Legislature Party) leader, should answer that question. I cannot get along with KPCC (Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee) President D K Shivakumar because our thinking doesn't match."
Ibrahim had left the JD-S after the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. After that he was associated with AHINDA (a social movement forged by minorities, backwards and Dalits) in Karnataka led by Siddaramaiah before both politicians joined the Congress.
Siddaramaiah said he would talk to Ibrahim and would not like to share his comments with the media.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy said he had spoken to Ibrahim on Thursday morning and would welcome him to the JD-S if he decides to join the party.
"Ibrahim is a former senior leader of the party who had had a long association with Deve Gowda....He still has affection for Gowda and the JD-S," Kumaraswamy said. "If he decides we will welcome him."