‘Drama to end in two days’, says Congress on Karnataka horse-trading crisis
Karnataka Congress in-charge, K C Venugopal, said he was in touch with all Congress MLAs. “This drama is going to end in a day or a two. We are all together, there is no internal fight in Congress,” he said.Updated: Jan 16, 2019 13:21 IST
Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy continued to remain calm on Wednesday amid BJP’s alleged bid to poach Congress MLAs in order to destabilise his government, assuring that he was in touch with everybody and there was no need to worry.
Congress workers protested outside a resort in Gurugram, where Karnataka BJP MLAs are being kept to avoid being lured by ruling parties, news agency ANI tweeted, saying that they were alleging that BJP was indulging in horse trading.
“Don’t worry, be happy. MLAs (Congress MLAs in Mumbai hotel) are unreachable to the media, not to me, I am in touch with everybody and I am speaking to everybody, they will come back. Our coalition is going on smoothly. I was relaxed and I am relaxed,” Kumaraswamy said on Wednesday morning.
Watch: BJP trying to destabilise Karnataka govt: Kumaraswamy
A day earlier, two independent MLAs, R Shankar and H Nagesh, had withdrawn from the JD(S)-Congress coalition, reducing its numbers to 118, which is still above the majority mark of 113.
Kumaraswamy had then said that he was “totally relaxed” as he know his strength. “Whatever is going on in media in the past week, I am enjoying.”
Cabinet expansion to accommodate more
Since Monday, there was speculation that the BJP has been in touch with some Congress MLAs. Some leaders of the Congress are reported to be in a hotel in Mumbai. HT could not verify this independently.
Karnataka Congress in-charge, K C Venugopal, said he was in touch with all Congress MLAs. “This drama is going to end in a day or a two. We are all together, there is no internal fight in Congress. This is all baseless,” he said.
The party has also called a legislature party meeting in Bengaluru on January 18, ANI reported.
Congress MP KH Muniyappa asked all those “who left the fold” to come back. “Second generation Congressmen who won election must not feel insecure. Rahul Gandhi and KC Venugopal are aware of your grievances, you will be given chance in next cabinet expansion.”
Karnataka minister and Congress leader Zameer Ahmed Khan too said that his party MLAs had gone to Mumbai for holidays and will be back by Wednesday, ANI reported.
On the other side, to avoid poaching by the ruling parties, BJP has been housing its 104 MLAs in a resort in Haryana’s Gurugram, which has turned it into a fortress with armed men guarding it, according to IANS.
With 104 members, even if the two independent legislators extend their support, the BJP is still short of the majority mark of 113 by seven MLAs.
What makes the task of toppling the government harder is that any MLA who defects from the Congress or the JD(S) will have to resign from the assembly because of the anti-defection law, under which two-thirds members of a party must leave en mass to form a new group. That effectively means that even if the two independents switch to the BJP, for a total of 106, it will need 13 MLAs from the government to quit to bring down the strength of the house to 211 to gain a simple majority.
(With inputs from agencies)