Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah could be the reason behind his suspension from Karnataka Congress, said Roshan Baig after he was removed from the party yesterday for alleged anti-party activities.
"It is obvious that I have been targeted by the state leadership. Is speaking the truth a crime? I have the highest regard and respect for Rahul Gandhi. I never criticised him. I am a worker of Indian National Congress, not Siddu (Siddaramaiah) Congress," Mr Baig said.
"I had only spoken about the poor performance of the party. Mr Siddaramaiah could be the reason for my suspension from the party," he said, a day after the All India Congress Committee suspended him for "anti-party" activities.
Mr Baig questioned why the state leadership did not take moral responsibility following Congress' poor show in the Lok Sabha elections when Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign as the party president.
"You took disciplinary action against me. Some of the Congress leaders openly defeated our dalit leader KH Muniyappa. Why no action was taken against them? Some of the Congress leaders openly supported Sumalatha. Why no one was suspended? This clearly shows that I am being targeted," the suspended legislator claimed.
Mr Baig maintained that he does not express regret after making comments in which he had expressed his displeasure about the state leadership.
Asked about his next course of action, Mr Baig said, "I will speak to senior leaders like Ramalinga Reddy, Muniyappa, (Mallikarjun) Kharge and HK Patil. I will speak to them and take a call."
The politician had recently criticised his colleagues in the party, describing state-in-charge KC Venugopal as a "buffoon", former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as "arrogant" and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao as a "flop show".
Mr Baig's name had also surfaced in connection with Rs 15,000-crore IMA Jewels ponzi scam, in which thousands of investors are feared to have lost their money after company owner Mansoor Khan disappeared. An audio recording, said to be that of Mansoor Khan, claimed that the politician had taken money illegally.
Photographs of Mr Baig with Mansoor Khan were also circulated, although the former has denied any involvement in what appears to be a multi-crore fraud.
The suspended legislator did not even attend a Congress Legislature Party meet called after the Lok Sabha results were announced. The Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition, which managed to win just one seat each, faced open criticism from leaders of both parties in the days that followed.
Mansoor Khan, who is the founder of the IMA Jewels, accused Roshan Baig of taking Rs 400 crore from him and not returning the money. Roshan Baig, however, has refuted the allegation and called it as a "total conspiracy."
(With inputs From ANI)