Karnataka loss not a surprise but a lesson to BJP, Congress: L K Advani

L K AdvaniL K Advani (IE Photo)

With the BJP still smarting under the debacle in Karnataka, senior leader L K Advani today slammed the party's handling of the state's affairs as "absolutely opportunistic", saying the election result has not come as a surprise.

Advani said BJP's response to the crisis there was "not at all a minor indiscretion" and the verdict served as a lesson to both his party and Congress about not "taking common man for granted".

"Our response to Karnataka crisis was not at all a minor indiscretion. I have consistently maintained that our handling of Karnataka has been absolutely opportunistic," he said.

The veteran leader had pushed for taking swift action in dumping former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa in the wake of corruption charges against him but the party instead dilly-dallied and was seen placating him. The Karnataka strongman finally parted ways and formed his own outfit.

On the removal of Union Ministers--P K Bansal and Ashwani Kumar, Advani cited reports of Sonia Gandhi 'sacking' two 'PM's men' and questioned if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had "abdigated" his right to decide his own Cabinet.

"Sheer self-respect demands that the PM calls it a day, and orders an early general election," he said. Soon after Kumar had put in his papers on Friday, Advani had demanded that Singh should also follow suit since Kumar was protecting him in Coalgate.

Congress has, however, dismissed reports that the action against the two was taken at the insistence of Gandhi and said it was a "joint decision" of the Prime Minister and Gandhi.

Advani wondered that if corruption provoked indignation in Bangalore why would it not cause the same feeling in Delhi.

"I feel sorry that we have lost in Karnataka. But I am not surprised. The surprise would have been if we had won," Advani said on his blog.

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