An attempt to murder case has been lodged against Congress legislator J N Ganesh on the basis of a complaint filed by Anand Singh, the party’s MLA from Vijayanagar constituency in Bellary who was injured in a brawl on Saturday night at a resort where Congress MLAs were sheltered.
The Congress has ordered an internal inquiry into the brawl among party MLAs from Bellary and placed Ganesh, the legislator from Kampli constituency, under suspension “pending a full inquiry”. Singh was admitted in Apollo Hospital on Sunday morning. A medical report from the hospital said he had suffered a “black eye, nasal blood clot, and tenderness over left lower chest”.
Senior Congress leaders had on Sunday denied that a brawl had occurred even as some leaders indicated that a fight had broken out.
The MLAs were sheltered at Eagleton Resort, in Ramanagara district near Bengaluru, amid fear of attempts at poaching by Opposition BJP during the recent political crisis in Karnataka.
In his complaint at Bidadi police station, in Ramanagara district, Singh stated that Ganesh accused him of stifling fund supply to him during last year’s Assembly elections, and of giving his nephew prominence when the MLAs from Bellary district were returning to their rooms after dinner on Saturday. He alleged that Ganesh attacked him subsequently, hitting his head on a wall and kicking him after he fell down.
Ganesh claimed that things went out of hand after he tried to intervene in an argument between Singh and another MLA from Bellary, Bheema Naik. “I tried to pacify them but things went out of hand. If the incidents have hurt him, I want to apologise,’’ said Ganesh, who has a criminal record and is said to be Singh’s protege.
According to sources in the party, the fight broke out after some MLAs insinuated that Singh had played a double game with them regarding offers to switch over to BJP while reporting dissident activities to Congress leaders at the same time.
Singh, Ganesh and Naik were among the seven Congress MLAs who went incommunicado last week, triggering fears of a BJP poaching bid. The others were B Nagendra (from Bellary), Ramesh Jharkiholi and Mahesh Kamatahalli (Belagavi), and Umesh Jadhav (Kalaburagi).
Singh had soon met senior party leader and state minister D K Shivakumar and reported the dissidents’ activities. Subsequently, the missing MLAs, barring the Belagavi duo, claimed to have returned to the Congress.
In a statement, the Congress said, “During a preliminary inquiry into the incidents…senior leaders of the party have gathered details from Anand Singh. Since serious allegations have been made, state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao has ordered suspension of J N Ganesh pending a full inquiry.”
A committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and comprising ministers K J George and Krishna Byregowda will look into the incidents, the party stated. The Karnataka unit of BJP said on social media that the “entire attempt to murder episode that Congress was trying to hush up now stands exposed. Congress MLAs should stay safe since the greed for power within the party could be fatal.”