Karnataka: Congress ordered all its legislators to show up at a meeting in Bengaluru where attendance is a must and absence will be seen as exit from the party
- Congress ordered all its legislators to show up at a meeting in Bengaluru
- Attendance is a must, absence will be seen as exit from party: Congress
- The “rebel” Congress legislators are believed to be in a hotel in Mumbai
BENGALURU: Four “missing” lawmakers needled the Congress in Karnataka as it rallied its flock today in the face of what it alleges is an attempt by the BJP to topple its coalition government with Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular.
At a Congress legislature party meeting, two rebels who staged a dramatic comeback on Wednesday – Anand Singh and Bheema Naik – were the only consolation for the state leadership which has insisted that all 80 of its lawmakers in the state will attend.
Four others, who have evaded party leaders’ calls and overtures for days, were a no-show. Umesh Jadhav, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli are believed to be at a Mumbai hotel and have had BJP visitors, according to reports. The first two, along with the fourth “missing” lawmaker B Nagendra, were dropped recently from the state cabinet, and are openly upset.
Reports say a BJP parliamentarian, Sanjay Ramchandra Patil, visited the hotel this morning to meet them.
The Congress has ordered all its legislators to attend the meeting or face action. Absence will be seen as exit from the party, top leaders have warned the ranks.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah, who is the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, said he had asked Ramesh Jarkiholi’s brother Satish Jarkiholi to call him. So far, it doesn’t seem to have produced results.
Ramesh Jarkiholi has been “incommunicado” since Tuesday. His brother Satish Jarkiholi, a first-time legislator who was made a minister in the cabinet, reportedly tried to get him to come around, without luck.
Mr Siddaramaiah hit out at the BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa, who has been accused by the Congress of trying to induce its lawmakers to cross over.
“Yeddyurappa was chief minister and has been accusing me of poaching MLAs. Does he have any self-respect,” Mr Siddaramaiah asked.
B Nagendra, one of the Congress lawmakers gone AWOL, vehemently denied he was in touch with the BJP. He said he is Bengaluru and wouldn’t be able to attend the legislature party meeting due to a court hearing. “I went to Mumbai for personal reasons. I have business there and go there from time to time. Don’t take it in any other way that I was in contact with someone. I’m not against anyone. I’m not going to BJP. I don’t know about Ramesh Jarkiholi,” Mr Nagendra told reporters.
Congress rebels at a luxury hotel in Mumbai and 104 BJP lawmakers sequestered at a resort in Gurgaon near Delhi this week set the stage for what many believed was a Karnataka coalition crash engineered either by the BJP or within the Congress. The speculation peaked after two independent lawmakers withdrew support from the Kumaraswamy-led Congress-Janata Dal Secular government.
The Congress repeatedly called it a redux of “Operation Lotus (the BJP’s election symbol)” – the name given for the BJP’s alleged attempts to lure away lawmakers from the Congress-Janata Dal Secular government.
After the return of two lawmakers, the ruling coalition leaders said the BJP had aborted its coup attempt.
The JDS-Congress alliance has 118 lawmakers in the 224-member Karnataka assembly where the majority mark is 113.
(Original Sources-a Published News Article of the TOI)
(Edited for TOI by Deepshikha Ghosh )