Rebel Cong MLA manhandled after quitting seat. Kidnapped, says Yeddyurappa
As the Congress stepped up the effort to keep Karnataka’s ruling coalition from sinking, two more party lawmakers handed over their resignation letters to the Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday.
Congress legislators MTB Nagaraj and K Sudhakar join the long list of 14 Congress and Janata Dal Secular MLAs who have submitted their letters to resign from the assembly over the last week. Nagaraj represents the Hoskote seat on the outskirts of Bengaluru in the state assembly while Sudhakar is the MLA from Chikballapur.
Both of them gave hand-written resignation letters.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar who had rejected eight of the 14 resignation letters because they weren’t in the right format told reporters that the two hand-written resignations cleared the initial scrutiny.
“Yes, they have tendered the resignations in the prescribed format. I have told my office to fix an interview with them. It will be on the 17 July,” Ramesh Kumar told reporters.
Once the resignation letters sent by the Congress and Janata Dal Secular rebels are accepted by the Speaker, the HD Kumaraswamy would lose its majority status in the assembly.
But the Speaker has held off on a decision, insisting that he needed to speak with each of the legislators to confirm that the letters were “voluntary and genuine”. Kumar has scheduled meetings with 5 of the 14 legislators whose letters were in the prescribed format on 12 and 15 July. The other eight would have to send fresh letters.
BJP leaders allege that the Speaker appeared to have adopted a go-slow approach to give the ruling Congress-JDS coalition time to pressurize its rebel lawmakers to withdraw their resignation.
K Sudhakar faced the ire of his party colleagues first hand after word about his exit from the state assembly spread. Sudhakar, who was still in the Vidhan Soudha, was surrounded by angry Congress leaders including minister Priyank Kharge who first demanded that he withdraw his resignation. When he stood his ground, Sudhakar was pushed and shoved around by his colleagues before being almost dragged into minister KG George’s office.
As former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also reached George’s office to convince Sudhakar, BJP legislator Madhu Swamy attempted to come to Sudhakar’s rescue. He didn’t get far. Other BJP leaders and workers too joined in, demanding that Sudhakar be set free.
Around the same time that Congress legislators were allegedly trying to “convince” Sudkhar to withdraw his resignation, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy tweeted against manhandling of ministers and MLAs. He was referring to the Mumbai police detaining Congress’s key troubleshooter DK Shivakumar after he camped outside a Mumbai hotel to meet the rebel Congress and JDS legislators staying in Hotel Renaissance.
BS Yeddyurappa, the 76-year-old Karnataka BJP chief, lashed out at the Congress. “The MLA has been kidnapped by his own party for resigning,” he said.