Bengaluru: Karnataka Minister D K Shivakumar at the Vidhanasoudha to meet the dissident MLA's of Congress and JD(S) in Bengaluru, Saturday (PTI)
In Mumbai, Congress workers gathered outside Sofitel Hotel, where the rebel MLAs are staying, to protest against the BJP's undemocratic move of poaching Congress-JDS MLAs of Karnataka, they said. They alleged that democracy is being slaughtered and said they won't tolerate horse trading.
Earlier in the day, two Maharashtra BJP leaders -- Prasad Lad and Mohit Bhartiya -- were spotted inside a Mumbai hotel where 10 of the 13 Karnataka MLAs who resigned on Saturday were staying. There is no word, however, on whether the two had met any of the eight MLAs. When asked about the political situation in Karnataka, Prasad Lad, who is Maharashtra BJP vice president and an MLC, told news agency ANI: "I know about it only through media. I am busy with the party membership drive."
This comes close on the heels of Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa maintaining that his party had nothing to do with the crisis even as the Congress accused it of trying to “bring down an elected government”. Congress, on the other hand, is trying to talk to the disgruntled leaders. While former chief minister Siddaramaiah said that he is in touch with few leaders and that everybody is loyal to the party, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party will see what can be done to resolve the grievances.
The JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka plunged into a crisis on Saturday, with 14 MLAs of the alliance submitting their resignation to the speaker. After submitting the resignations, 10 MLAs flew by a chartered flight and arrived at a hotel in Mumbai late Saturday night.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who was not in office when the legislators arrived, said “whether the government will fall or survive” will be decided “in the Assembly”. Unable to meet the Speaker, who asked the MLAs to return on Tuesday, the rebel legislators met Governor Vala and conveyed their desire to quit.
The MLAs who have resigned are H Vishwanath, Y Gopalaiah and K C Narayana Gouda from the JDS; the Congress MLAs are B C Patil, Mahesh Kumatahalli, Ramesh Jharkiholi, Shivaram Hebbar, Prathapgouda Patil, Ramalinga Reddy, Byrathi Basavaraj, N Munirathna, S T Somashekhar and Anand Singh
As many as seven of the 14 MLAs have been linked with a move to the BJP for over 10 months now and were part of a Congress rebel group.
If the Speaker accepts the 14 resignations, the coalition will lose majority in the 224-member Assembly as its strength will come down to 104 against the BJP’s 105. The coalition’s current strength, including those who have resigned, is 118 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and Independents-2), besides the Speaker.
In Kumaraswamy's absence, Congress leader and minister D K Shivakumar, considered the Congress troubleshooter for the coalition, tried to convince the disgruntled MLAs from quitting but failed.