Amid intense speculation that he might join Congress ahead of the Assembly polls in Karnataka, senior minister V Somanna on Tuesday clarified that he would not quit BJP, and would remain in the party.
The MLA from Govindrajnagar in Bengaluru, who turned emotional while speaking to reporters about the rumours, said he was not disgruntled with the party.
"I'm clarifying to you that I will not quit BJP, I will remain in BJP. I'm a minister in the BJP government and the BJP people have not treated me disrespectfully in recent times. Being a minister I would not like to cause even a slightest disservice to the party, this is a national party," Somanna said.
Without naming anyone, he alleged that unnecessary attempts of "character assassination" were being made against him. He called for an end to the alleged campaign against him that portrayed him as behaving with "pettiness" towards the party, its leaders, and towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Let's end all these speculations, I will remain in the BJP and work for it," he said, adding that he has served the party with loyalty and will continue to do so.
As Somanna was not included in the BJP's election campaign committee and election management committee, it added to the talk that he may quit the party and join the Congress, the party he had quit in 2009. He himself had recently made cryptic comments about his political future stating, "Somanna is not stagnant water. He's flowing..."
The five-time MLA has reportedly been sulking over allegedly being sidelined in party affairs, and also because the BJP is unlikely to give a ticket to his son in the upcoming Assembly election.
To a question on whether he would contest the Assembly polls himself, Somanna said it was left to the high command to decide. "If the party asks me to contest, I will contest. If not, I will campaign for the party."
When questioned about an undated photo of him seated next to state Congress President D K Shivakumar during a flight going viral, he said, "Just because I sat next to Shivakumar on the flight does it mean I'm joining Congress? We both are from neighbouring villages and have a relationship beyond politics."
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai too on Monday rejected speculation that Somanna might quit the BJP, and said he was with the party and would remain with it.
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