A day after two MLAs withdrew support from the ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka, the Congress on Wednesday called for a legislature party meeting in Bengaluru on January 18, amid speculation that the BJP is attempting to form the government in Karnataka.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he was in touch with the five Congress MLAs who are said to be camping in Mumbai.
“I have been saying for the past three days that they are in touch with me, I’m in the know of all the developments. They may not be reachable to others, but they are reachable to me…,” he told PTI.
On Tuesday, former union minister D V Sadananda Gowda had claimed that if the Congress-JD(S) coalition government falls, the BJP would stake claim to power.
Around seven Congress MLAs went incommunicado Monday amid suggestions by state minister D K Shivakumar that the BJP was plotting to poach MLAs to destabilise the government.
In the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly, the Congress with 80 MLAs and JDS with 37 enjoy a clear majority. The BJP has 104 MLAs and the KPJP and BSP have an MLA each. H Nagesh from Mulbagal and R Shankar from Ranebennur, who withdrew their support, are the independent MLAs.
Amid charges of horsetrading, the BJP has shifted its ministers to a resort in Haryana’s Nuh to reportedly thwart any poaching attempts by the coalition government.
As many as 20 Youth Congress workers, led by the party’s state general secretary Pradeep Singh, camped outside the resort in Haryana and raised slogans against the Centre alleging that the BJP-led government was “disrespecting the Constitution and murdering democracy”.
All our 118 Karnataka MLAs intact: Mallikarjun Kharge
Asserting that BJP was trying to mislead through the media by saying they were in contact with Congress MLAs, Mallikarjun Kharge confirmed that all the 118 MLAs of the ruling coalition were intact.
Kharge also wondered that if the BJP camp was certainly united, then why their MLAs were “hiding” at a resort in Gurugram.
“All our 118 MLAs are intact. BJP is trying to mislead through media by saying they are in contact with our MLAs. This is a lie. If Karnataka BJP is strong and united as they claim, then why are they hiding their MLAs in a 5-star hotel in Gurugram?” Kharge said at a press conference.
Kharge said the BJP had a habit of trying to poach MLAs to form a government by hook or crook. “This is not the first time BJP has done this. They have always tried to poach MLAs like they did in Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand,” the Congress leader said.
Kharge also alleged that BJP’s ploy of threatening Congress MLAs with IT, ED raids in Karnataka was doomed to fail. “Now, their own MLAs are hiding in a hotel,” he said.