Protesting Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's "dictatorial" attitude, former revenue minister V Srinivas Prasad resigned as MLA, four months after he was unceremoniously dropped from the cabinet.
The Nanjangud MLA, who arrived in Vidhana Soudha to tender his resignation letter to Speaker K.B. Koliwad, said his voters have been upset with the way he was treated by Siddaramaiah.
"I am hurt by the chief minister's statement that the cabinet rejig was to strengthen the government. Not once did the CM ask about my health or hint that he was unhappy with my performance as the minister. Despite my good performance, I was unceremoniously dropped from the cabinet," Prasad, a prominent dalit leader, said.
While some Congress leaders met the veteran leader to convince him to stay back in the party, reports of party leaders pepping up PWD minister H.C. Mahadevappa's son Sunil Bose to contest in the bypolls from the reserved seat gave clear indication that there was little scope for a patch up.
"My work was widely appreciated. Effective drought management, appointment of 1,800 land surveyors, RTC issuance to landowners andallotting government burial grounds to end caste discrimination are some of my achievements in the last three years. But the person who got a new lease of life politically because of me has betrayed me today,” he said, adding, “I wonder if Mahadevappa or his son would have more goodwill than me for my constituency”.
While, Prasad has given no hints about his next move, both the BJP and the JD(S) have welcomed him with an eye on the 2018 assembly polls.
"I have not yet decided on joining any party. Though I have announced that I will no longer be in electoral politics, I don't intend to keep away from active politics," Prasad said, adding that his decision has the backing of his voters and well-wishers.
The exit of Prasad is most likely to dent the prospects of the Congress in the 2018 assembly polls as dalits make up almost 18 per cent of the state's population. Dalits in the state had staged a protest against the government apathy and denial of land rights.
Siddaramaiah's recent announcement to scale up reservation to 50 per cent is said to be an attempt to appease the community.