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Karnataka tussle: Flight permit to Kerala ‘denied’, JD(S)-Congress legislators reach Hyderabad

The Janata Dal (Secular) alleged that chartered flights that were to fly the Karnataka MLAs from Bengaluru to Kerala’s Kochi were denied permission by the DGCA.

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: May 18, 2018 14:01 IST
Agencies, Hyderabad
Karnataka Government,BJP,Congress JDS Alliance
Congress MLAs, sit in a bus after staging a protest against the swearing-in of BS Yeddyurappa as Karnataka chief minister, in Bengaluru.(PTI File Photo)

Newly-elected legislators of the Congress and Janata Dal(Secular) from Karnataka on Friday arrived in Hyderabad, reports said, to prevent alleged attempts by the BJP of “horse-trading” ahead of the trust vote in the assembly.

The legislators arrived in the Telangana capital by road from Bengaluru, news agency PTI said quoting unnamed sources, after the JD(S) alleged on Thursday night chartered flights that were to fly them from Bengaluru to Kerala’s Kochi were denied permission by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation at the last minute.

Kerala minister and JD(S) leader Mathew T Thomas on Friday repeated the allegation that the ministry of civil aviation did not give them the permission for the charter plane.

“I am definite Karnataka JD(S) MLAs are not coming by flight so I am moving to Kurnool. Not sure about destination if they come here, they are welcome. I was expecting them yesterday but civil aviation department did not give permission for a charter flight,” Thomas said while speaking to news agency ANI.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad echoed Thomas’ statement, saying: “MLAs who were staying at Bengaluru resort received threats. We wanted to take them to Kerala by air but permission was not granted. Ultimately they had to travel by road. Is this democracy? No one trusts Constitution anymore, people have faith only in judiciary.” 

However, a civil aviation ministry official said that DGCA permission was not required for charter operations within India.

The legislators are expected to be lodged in five-star hotels or resorts.

“All the MLAs of Congress and JD(S) are coming here. We are all staying here,” DK Suresh, Congress member of Parliament from Karnataka, said.

The Congress and the JD(S) decided to fly their legislators from out of Karnataka fearing poaching by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after its leader BS Yeddyurappa was given 15 days’ time to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly. Yeddyurappa was sworn-in as the chief minister of Karnataka on Thursday.

Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had met JD(S) chief and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda at the latter’s residence before the Karnataka polls. Rao had appealed to Telugu people living in the neighbouring state to vote for the JD(S).

Kerala tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran earlier invited Congress and JD(S) MLAs from Karnataka to their state to avoid horse-trading and poaching bid by the BJP.

Neighbouring Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have also been mentioned as possible destinations.

The Congress lent unconditional support to former prime minister HD Devegowda’s son, HD Kumaraswamy, to form the government in the state where a hung assembly emerged with the BJP as the largest party with 104 seats. The Congress secured 78, the JD(S) 37 and others three.

Polling was held in 222 of the state’s 224 seats, for which results were declared on May 15, delivering a hung assembly

First Published: May 18, 2018 12:26 IST