“I was offered the post twice when Congress was the ruling party in the State. But I declined to take it up,” Mr. Poojary, who is known for his no-holds-barred comments told reporters here.
Taking a dig at the present party leadership in the State, Mr. Poojary suggested Congress legislators should have started an intense agitation over the failure of the government to appoint a Lokayukta,which has been lying vacant for almost a year now.
Mr. Poojary, as KPCC president during S.M. Krishna’s tenure as Chief Minister during the first half of 2000s, had maintained a strict regimen in the party office during his tenure as the president by making even ministers visit it and hear grievances of party workers.
Mr. Poojary, has held several prominent positions in the party apart from being a junior minister in the ministry of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He was appointed the All India General Secretary of the Congress party by Rajiv Gandhi in 1990 and subsequently made the KPCC president.
He rose to prominence again despite losing election to the Loksabha in Mangalore when he was appointed the AICC general secretary by P.V. Narasimha Rao during 1991-96. He was one of the confidantes of the late prime minister.
Interestingly, Mr. Poojary, who also hails from the Western Ghats area, supported Legislative Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah for his statement that the UNESCO heritage tag to the 10 forest areas in Kodagu district was not good for its people.
But he demanded Mr. Bopaiah’s resignation from the Speaker’s post for saying that the people of Kodagu would be forced to demand Statehood if their rights over the forests were infringed upon in any way. Already Karnataka was plagued by the Belgaum issue and no one should meddle with the integrity of the State, he warned.
He said that Speaker Bopaiah should have resigned after being indicted by the Supreme Court in the case of disqualification of MLAs.
Mr. Poojary said that he will meet the party president Sonia Gandhi and request her to write to the Union Environment Ministry to ensure that UNESCO heritage tag to the Western Ghats is withdrawn.
On the resignation of Kundapur MLA Haladi Srinivasa Shetty from the Assembly, he alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were driving a wedge between the Bunts and the Billavas. While Mr. Shetty is a Bunt, Mr. Kota Srinivas Poojary is a Billava.