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Cong plays down ‘rebellion’ in Karnataka after 4 defiant MLAs skip assembly session

On the opening day of the budget session in Karnataka, four Congress MLAs remained absent from the assembly on Wednesday.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2019 18:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Karnataka,Congress,HD Kumaraswamy
Karnataka assembly witnessed pandemonium on Wednesday during Governor Vajubhai Vala’s speech with the BJP MLAs shouting slogans against the government. (Photo: Twitter/@ANI)

Karnataka Congress has played down the defiance shown by four of its MLAs, who skipped the opening day of budget session on Wednesday. Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar did not seem worried about the ‘rebel’ MLAs tying up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to move a no-confidence motion against the HD Kumaraswamy government in the state.

On being asked if the Congress is worried about the BJP moving a no-confidence motion in the wake of ‘rebel’ MLAs defying the party’s directives, Shivakumar said, “Let them try.” Congress MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi, MaheshKumtalli, Umesh Jadhav and Nagendra defied the whip and remained absent from the Karnataka assembly.

The Congress leader, in turn, targeted the BJP for boycotting the Governor’s speech in Karnataka assembly earlier in the day. Shivakumar said it is very shocking that BJP legislators are showing this attitude of frustration towards the Governor’s speech.

The BJP had shouted slogans in the Karnataka assembly during Governor Vajubhai Vala’s speech. The party MLAs shouted, “Governor go back” in the assembly. The protesting MLAs alleged that the Congress-JD(S) government does not have majority in the house.

Defending the action of the party MLAs, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa said, “No development is going on in the state. There is infighting within the cabinet. That is why we boycotted Governor’s speech.”

Yeddyurappa, however, denied that the BJP was planning to move a no-confidence motion against the Kumaraswamy government. “We are not going to move a no-confidence motion. We are waiting and observing everything,” he said.

The Congress-JD(S) alliance formed the government in Karnataka last year on the support 117 MLAs in a house of 224 legislators. Two Independent MLAs were also supporting the ruling coalition. Independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar announced withdrawal of support to the Kumaraswamy government last month.

In this background, the four ‘rebel’ Congress MLAs make the stability of the Kumaraswamy government fragile. The MLAs have defied two notices served by the party.

The party had also issued a whip on Tuesday asking all the MLAs to be present in Karnataka assembly on Wednesday but they stayed away from the house. They had also not attended the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet on January 18. However, Kumaraswamy has said there is no threat to his government.

The development has come at a time when some reports have suggested differences between the Congress and the JD(S) over seat sharing arrangement for the Lok Sabha election. Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha seats.

First Published: Feb 06, 2019 18:34 IST