New Delhi: The Congress legislative party’s meeting, on Friday, in the wake of poaching attempts of their MLAs by the BJP, saw four of their lawmakers missing. This is despite former chief minister and Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah warning his MLAs of stern action if they fail to attend Friday’s CLP meeting in Vidhan Soudha, Bengaluru.
The four Congress MLAs who didn’t turn out are: Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Mahesh Iranagaud Kumathalli (Athani), B Nagendra (Ballari Rural) and Dr Umesh Jadhav (Chincholi).
The absence of the four Congress MLAs seemed to have alarmed the party as the Bharatiya Janata Party strongman BS Yeddyurappa is manoeuvring to poach a handful of them to topple the HD Kumaraswamy-led Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in the state. The Congress has 80 MLAs and the 76 who attended Friday’s meeting have been “awarded” an instant “holiday” and all were bundled in a bus at a resort in the outskirts of the state capital.
Siddaramaiah, talking to NDTV, said, “They are being taken to a resort to keep them safe from the BJP.” On being asked what action he will take against the absentee MLAs, Siddaramaiah said, “I will send notice to the absentees and seek an explanation. Then I will speak to the high command.”
It is believed that the four Congress MLAs are ensconced in a Mumbai hotel and where BJP members are reportedly visiting them.
Earlier, on Thursday, Yeddyurappa said the BJP MLAs, who are in Gurgaon, were “preparing for the Lok Sabha election” and they would come back in a day or two. Media reports said Yeddyurappa is confident of returning as the chief minister because “an astrologer” told him so. It is also reported that a senior Congress leader was clandestinely helping him realizing his chief-ministerial ambitions, for which he embarked on “Operation Kamala (Operation Lotus)” to topple the Congress-JD(S) government.