Senior Congress leader and former Member of Parliament from Tumakuru, S P Muddahanumegowda on Thursday said he has decided to quit the party ahead of the 2023 Assembly polls in Karnataka.
He met state Congress President D K Shivakumar and Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah and communicated his decision.
He said he will be soon taking a decision on his political future and wants to contest the Assembly polls from Kunigal seat.
Muddahanumegowda said he will be sending his formal resignation letter to the Congress party at the earliest.
"My active politics is not yet over, so I will have to set a stage for it to continue, I have decided to move away from the Congress party and I have requested both leaders (Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar) to relieve me. I will also send them my formal resignation letter soon," he said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said both leaders asked him not to take such a decision, but after considering all aspects, he has realised that such a move was necessary for his political future.
Noting that he has worked efficiently as the party's MP and MLA in the past and has also contributed for organising the Congress, the former MP said, "I want to say with full responsibility that I have given back to the party more than what it has given me." "People of Tumakuru are aware of what all I have gone through in the last 33 years from 1989-2019, how there were attempts to keep me away from electoral politics four times; along with there were several political developments, they have led me to this decision," he said.
Muddahanumegowda said promises made to him by the then Congress President Rahul Gandhi and General Secretary K C Venugopal, when he was denied a ticket during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, were not fulfilled.
Muddahanumegowda, the only Congress' sitting MP during 2019 Lok Sabha polls to be denied the ticket, as the party had ceded the Tumakuru seat to its then alliance partner in the state the JD(S).
JD(S) patriarch and former PM H D Deve Gowda was the joint nominee of Congress-JDS ruling alliance from Tumakuru. Angered by this decision, Muddahanumegowda had filed his papers both as party candidate and as an independent, but had finally yielded to persuasion from the party leadership.
Asked about his next political move, Muddahanumegowda said, "I have taken this decision today, now options will be open before me. People of Kunigal want me to contest from there in the 2023 Assembly polls as I had represented the seat for 10 years in the past. Based on the political developments I will decide."
To a question whether there is any offer from the BJP, he said, "I have decided to quit the Congress today and what will happen in the days to come, I cannot comment now, but soon I will take a decision, as elections are fast approaching." Responding to a question whether he was upset with Rahul Gandhi and Venugopal, he said he wouldn't want to make any personal comments and was taking the decision for the reasons he has stated.
Congress' H D Ranganath currently represents the Kunigal Assembly segment.