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“The Congress high command reposed faith in me and gave me responsibility to ensure victories in as many as constituencies in north Karnataka,” 69-year-old Patil told reporters at Hubballi airport on Sunday. “However, I could not ensure victory of the Congress candidates. Hence, I have decided resign.”
However, party insiders attribute the decision to what they call “ill-treatment” meted out to Patil by leaders after the assembly election results were announced. “He was not consulted or involved in talks that led to the Congress-JD(S) alliance,” a Congress leader said. “Also, his efforts to become deputy CM under the Lingayat quota failed. He has been miffed since then.”
Another leader said the resignation might have been triggered by reports that senior leaders may be kept out of the cabinet to accommodate new faces.
However, Patil dismissed this, stating he was neither upset with anyone in the party nor aspiring for any post. “I am a man of principle and I have never hankered for power,” he said. Patil claimed that he is not expecting a ministerial berth and will remain a disciplined worker of the party.
It is said that a section of leaders, especially from Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Gadag, are upset with Patil for not campaigning for party candidates, while he focussed entirely on Badami where Siddaramaiah was the candidate. Former Hunagund MLA Vijayanand Kashappanavar had urged the party leadership not to give Patil any post while holding him responsible for his defeat.
“I persuaded Siddaramaiah to contest from Badami hoping that it will help the party win more seats in north Karnataka. But my calculations went wrong. I could not devote much time to other constituencies as I had to concentrate on Badami,” he said.