Bengaluru: Amid the ongoing crisis in Karnataka, the crucial Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet is scheduled to happen in Bengaluru on Friday. The meeting is expected to be a show of strength for the Congress, in a counter to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s alleged bid to topple the ruling Congress-JD(S) government in the state.
In a notice issued to Congress MLAs, CLP leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday warned that absence of MLAs at meeting would be viewed ‘seriously’. He also added that action would be initiated under the Anti-Defection Law. “I would like to bring to your notice that your absence will be viewed seriously and it will be considered that you have voluntarily decided to leave the primary membership of the Indian National Congress,” he had said.
Furthermore, he hit out at the BJP and alleged that the party has failed to work as opposition in the state. He said, “BJP has no right to talk about Congress. BJP has failed to work as opposition in the state. it is doing anti-democracy rather than working as opposition.”
Meanwhile, in a breather to the Congress on Thursday, more MLAs who had allegedly gone incommunicado and were on the poaching list of BJP, surfaced. Yellapur MLA Shivram Hebbar who met KPCC chief Dinesh Gunduu Rao said he had gone to Andaman and Nicobar Islands with family, as per the plan made about a month ago.
Another Congress MLA JN Ganesh from Kampli termed reports that he had planned to switch to BJP as a ‘creation’ and ‘false’. Congress MLA from Ballari B Nagendra said he was in Mumbai for personal reasons, business and other things.
Thursday also witnessed BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa arriving in Bengaluru amid allegations of trying to destabilise the coalition government in Karnataka. On arrival, he asserted his party was not involved in any operation to topple the Congress-JD(S) government while adding that his party MLAs were also flying back from Gurugram, where they are staying for the past few days.
Earlier, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had slammed the BJP for making ‘futile attempts’ to destabilise his government and accused it of keeping own MLAs in ‘confinement’ at Gurugram. Speaking to reporters, Kumaraswamy said Yeddyurappa making repeated claims that Congress-JD(S) leaders, were luring his party MLAs, was ‘surprising’ for him.
“…Today I want to ask Yeddyurappa and his friends, how long have you been staying at a hotel in Gurugram, for what sake have you kept MLAs in confinement?” Kumaraswamy asked while accusing the BJP of ‘doing everything’ to poach coalition MLAs with allurements.
In response, Yeddyurappa said, “No one from BJP has indulged in any kind of operation or luring Congress-JD(S) MLAs. We had gathered all our MLAs at one place and were discussing preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls for the last two-three days. Today all are coming back.”
He added, “Why do they have to fear if we gather our MLAs, I don’t understand. Internal fight within Congress and JD(S) is going out of control, to cover up their internal squabbles, they should not blame BJP.”
Karnataka is witnessing a political turmoil following charges of horse trading flung at each other by the ruling coalition and the BJP amid speculation that about six MLAs are ready to jump ship to the BJP side. The Congress has, however, dismissed reports, saying they are ‘intact’. Earlier on Tuesday, two MLAs withdrew support to the seven-month-old government led by HD Kumaraswamy.
(Inputs from PTI)