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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Back from US, Kumaraswamy in fire-fighting mode, meets Congress rebel: Report

Karnataka Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is believed to have met dissenting Congress legislator MLA Ramalinga Reddy on Monday morning. The 13-month-old Karnataka coalition government of JD(S) and Congress plunged into crisis following the resignation of the MLAs on Saturday.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2019 11:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Karnataka Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is believed to have met dissenting Congress legislator MLA Ramalinga Reddy on Monday morning.
Karnataka Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is believed to have met dissenting Congress legislator MLA Ramalinga Reddy on Monday morning.(PTI Photo)
         

Karnataka Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, who rushed to Bengaluru from his tour of the USA following the resignations of 12 MLAs, is believed to have met dissenting Congress legislator MLA Ramalinga Reddy on Monday morning.

According to sources, the meeting took place at an undisclosed location in the city, reports ANI.

In Delhi, the Congress party has given adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha on what they called the ‘BJP trying to topple Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka’, reports ANI.

The 13-month-old Karnataka coalition government of JD(S) and Congress plunged into crisis following the resignation of the MLAs on Saturday.

Also Read | Karnataka government crisis Updates: Congress leaders reach Dy CM’s house for meeting

The Karnataka assembly has a total of 225 members, including the Speaker. The BJP is the largest party with 105 MLAs, the Congress has 78 and JD(S) 37 MLAs. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and KPJP have one MLA each. The Karnataka assembly also has an Independent MLA and one MLA is nominated by the government.

Even though senior leaders were upbeat and expressed confidence that a few MLAs would take back their resignations, the rebels held a press meet in Mumbai dismissing any such possibility.

On Saturday, nine Congress and three JD(S) MLAs had submitted their resignations to the Speaker’s office and then held a meeting with Governor Vajubhai Vala before the nine of them left for Mumbai by a special flight.

Congress MLA ST Somashekhar, speaking at the Sofitel Hotel in Mumbai, said: “We are 10 MLAs here. We have resigned and we have told the Governor about this. MLAs Ramalinga Reddy, Munirathna and Anand Singh will join us tomorrow in Mumbai. There is no question of us taking back our resignations as is being claimed in the media.”

Former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah has called a CLP meet on Tuesday.

Somashekhar said though that there was no question of attending it. “It is irrelevant to issue whip and hold legislature party meeting after we have resigned, he said.

Also Read | Anyone who criticises govt is branded ‘anti-national’: Shabana Azmi

Earlier in the day senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, too, said that it was to be seen how many of the MLAs might have a change of heart. “The Assembly session will begin on July 12 and we will know how many people will violate the whip. The MLAs have cited many reasons for the resignations, and we will try and address their grievances, let’s see how successful we are,” he said.

AICC general secretary KC Venugopal discussed the developments with Congress leaders from the state, even as troubleshooter DK Shivakumar met former prime minister HD Deve Gowda to seek his opinion. Two senior leaders from among the rebels, who spoke to HT, confirmed that they had only resigned from legislator’s post and not from their respective parties.

Former JD(S) state president AH Vishwanath, speaking from Mumbai, said he was unsatisfied with the coalition government. “I have not quit the JD(S), this resignation is only for the MLA’s post,” he said. “There is no question of me joining the Bharatiya Janata Party; it has never crossed my mind,” he added, even as it was believed that the MLAs in Mumbai were in close contact with BJP leaders.

Also Read | Karnataka coalition leaders in a huddle as rebel MLAs stand resolute

Former home minister and seven-time Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy, too, said that he was still with the Congress. “I have built this party and I continue to be a Congress worker,” he said. Venugopal and other Congress leaders had held meetings with Reddy, but he said that he told them things had gone beyond the stage of reconciliation. “I told them I was sidelined and discriminated against. It is not a joke to submit resignation and there is no question of taking it back,” he said, adding that if his resignation were to be accepted he would still contest the resulting by-election to his constituency.

On the day after the resignations, it emerged that there were two factions among the rebel MLAs. One faction was of the nine MLAs in Mumbai and the other was of Reddy, ST Somashekhar and BA Basavaraj.

A close aide of former chief minister Siddaramaiah said that at least four MLAs would take back their resignations. “Wait and watch another day or two, at least four of them will come back because they will be disqualified otherwise,” the person said. On Sunday, the JD(S), which had not seen the resignations of three of its MLAs coming, held its legislature party meeting as chief minister HD Kumaraswamy rushed back to the country from his tour of the USA.

Senior Congress leaders too held a meeting at the hotel where the JDLP was being held. Meanwhile, former chief minister and BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa told reporters that everything was left to the Speaker now. “The Assembly session will begin on July 12 and the chief minister has to return from abroad. Let’s wait and see what decision they will take,” he said. “In my opinion this government has lost its majority, but a decision has to be taken by the Speaker and chief minister. We are not ascetics, let the Speaker take his decision and then we will hold a meeting and take a call on this when the time comes,” Yeddyurappa said.

First Published: Jul 08, 2019 09:24 IST