THE JD(S) Sunday suspended eight of its 40 legislators in the Karnataka assembly for cross voting in the Rajya Sabha and legislative council polls held over the weekend.
The cross voting in the Rajya Sabha polls by the eight JD(S) legislators resulted in the defeat of businessman B M Farookh, who had been fielded by the party against Congress candidate K C Ramamurthy. In the legislative council polls on Friday, cross voting by five of the eight suspended legislators had led to the defeat of JD(S) candidate S M Venkatapathi at the hands of BJP’s second candidate Lehar Singh Siroya.
The JD(S) managed to win only one of the seven legislative council seats for which elections were held and none of the four Rajya Sabha seats. On Saturday, JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy had said the party would take action against the dissident MLAs.
Following a meeting of party workers Sunday, JD(S) leader Y S V Datta announced the suspension of MLAs Zameer Ahmed, N Cheluvarayaswamy, H C Balakrishna, Akhanda Sreenivasmurthy, Y Gopalaiah, Bheema Naik, Ramesh Bandisiddegowda and Iqbal Ansari. Three of them — Zameer Ahmed, Cheluvarayaswamy and Balakrishna — are known to be close associates of Kumaraswamy.
Kumaraswamy was curiously absent from the meeting to suspend the eight dissidents. In a message that was read out at the meeting, he said that any action taken by the party leadership — his father H D Deve Gowda — would have his complete support.
Five of the suspended MLAs are known to have moved closer to the Congress since it came to power in 2013 and after the appointment of Siddaramaiah, a former JD(S) leader, as the Chief Minister. There have been rumours that MLAs Zameer Ahmed, Cheluvarayaswamy, Balakrishna and Iqbal Ansari may join the Congress around the time of the 2018 state polls. The dissident MLAs have been complaining of a lack of voice in the JD(S), which is run by Deve Gowda and his sons Kumaraswamy and H D Revanna.
At Sunday’s meeting, Deve Gowda accused Zameer Ahmed, Cheluvarayaswamy and Balakrishna of working against the party since 2007. Revanna said the suspension of the MLAs would be followed by more strict action. “Evidence is being gathered about the actions of the MLAs, about whom they have been meeting and what they have been doing,” Revanna said.