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Congress issues notices to MLAs who missed meet

The absence of the four poses no immediate threat to the government. The JDS-Congress combine has 118 lawmakers in the 224-member Karnataka assembly. It is well above the majority mark – 113.

india Updated: Jan 20, 2019 23:42 IST
Vikram Gopal and Venkatesha Babu
Vikram Gopal and Venkatesha Babu
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Congress,Karantaka Congress,Bharatiya Janata Party
All India Congress Committee Members Protest against Bhartiya Janta Party and Amit Shah in Bengaluru.(ANI Photo)

The Congress on Sunday issued notices to four lawmakers in Karnataka over their absence from a legislature party meeting two days earlier. The meeting was called as a show of strength against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s alleged attempt to topple the Congress’s coalition government with the Janata Dal (Secular) or JD (S).

The four include Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was dropped from the state cabinet in December,
B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav, and Mahesh Kumatahalli, news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted unnamed Congress sources as saying.

The absence of the four poses no immediate threat to the government. The JDS-Congress combine has 118 lawmakers in the 224-member Karnataka assembly. It is well above the majority mark – 113.

In the notice to Jarkiholi, Congress legislative party leader, Siddaramaiah has asked him to explain reports that he was joining the BJP. He has been asked about his visits to Delhi and Mumbai to meet BJP leaders and why he has not rejected these reports.“Your conduct suggests that you will voluntarily quit from the membership of the Indian National Congress. You have got elected as a legislator on Congress symbol and cannot quit as party member under the Constitution,” PTI quoted the notice as saying.

Siddaramaiah had issued notices to all party lawmakers ahead of the Friday meeting. He had warned that their absence would be viewed “seriously” and action initiated according to the anti-defection law.

As many as 76 Congress lawmakers attended the meet. They were shifted to a resort on Bengaluru outskirts to counter BJP’s alleged moves to lure them to topple the government.

The BJP legislators, who were sent to a luxury hotel in Gurgaon also over poaching fears, returned to Karnataka on Saturday.

Congress lawmaker hospitalised

One of the Congress lawmakers camping at the resort over poaching fears was hospitalisation on Sunday, according to a party leader. Anand Singh, the lawmaker from Vijayanagara, was admitted to a private hospital.

Karnataka minister C Puttarangashetty, who is also staying at the resort, said there were heated arguments between Singh and JN Ganesh, the lawmaker from Kampli, even during the second Congress legislative party meeting on Saturday.

“They were at it in the meeting and it appeared to have carried on into the night. I could hear raised voices near my room, but I cannot say for certain that there was physical violence,” Puttarangashetty said.

Congress leader and minister D K Shivakumar denied that the two lawmakers had fought.

“The Ballari MLAs [Singh, Ganesh, minister E Tukaram, and LBP Bheema Naik] and I had gone for a reception and held a meeting about the district before returning here. Singh has gone to attend a wedding. But you [the media] are speculating that there was a fight,’’ he said. “Wait for another hour or two, he will return and tell you what happened.” He denied reports of a fight or violence. “Nothing has happened.”

BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa claimed there had been a drunken brawl. “Siddaramiah has to answer for this. Police should immediately launch an investigation and it is shameful that in spite of a murderous assault, no case has been registered.”

Singh’s wife, Lakshmi, said she was worried for her husband but had been informed that everything was alright.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Jan 20, 2019 23:42 IST