JDS lawmaker spotted at Bengaluru airport, sparks buzz about another exit
Around the time that many of his party colleagues were getting themselves photographed practising yoga at a resort 300 km away, Janata Dal Secular lawmaker Srinivasa Gowda was spotted at the Bengaluru airport on Wednesday sparking off buzz that the ruling party might suffer another setback.
Gowda, who was carrying a suitcase, decidedly kept the suspense on. He refused to respond to questions from reporters about his destination. Is it Delhi or Mumbai, someone asked him, an oblique reference to the Mumbai hotel where three JDS lawmakers are sequestered along with Congress rebels who sent their resignations.
Gowda didn’t say a word as he clutched his luggage and proceeded inside.
Gowda didn’t respond to questions about the presence of BJP’s BY Vijayendra at the airport which had fuelled speculation that he might be around to shepherd Srinivasa Gowda out of Karnataka.
BY Vijayendra is Karnataka BJP’s youth wing’s general secretary. He is also the younger son of the BS Yeddyurappa, the veteran BJP politician who is leading the campaign against the HD Kumaraswamy government and is the party’s presumptive chief minister in Karnataka.
Gowda later insisted that he wasn’t on his way out. “I am still with the Janata Dal Secular,” he later said, dismissing rumours of his imminent exit.
Gowda’s next move is also being watched closely because he was one of the JDS lawmakers who had, just a few months ago in February, gone public to accuse the BJP of trying to bribe him to cross over to the BJP.
Srinivasa Gowda had then named two BJP leaders, claiming that they paid him ₹5 crore and promised to give another ₹25 crore. “They asked me to resign from the assembly, but I refused their offer,” he told a Press conference in February this year.
The BJP insists that the Kumaraswamy government has already lost its majority in the assembly after the resignation or withdrawal of support by16 lawmakers over the last few days. Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, is yet to accept the resignation letters and has scheduled meetings with five MLAs on 12 and 15 July.
The current crisis was triggered by the resignation of 12 ruling coalition MLAs on Saturday – rebel Congress legislator Anand Singh had quit five days before – with the opposition BJP claiming the alliance’s strength in the assembly had slipped below the majority mark.
The Congress had yesterday flown in senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to Bengaluru and dispatched state minister DK Shivakumar to Mumbai to speak to the rebel group, who have camped in a city hotel for three days. Shivakumar, who wasn’t allowed to meet the rebel MLAs by the police, when he camped outside Mumbai’s Renaissance Hotel for several hours.