4 missing Karnataka Congress MLAs return after several weeks
The four rebel Congress legislators, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Umesh Jadhav, Mahesh Kumathahalli and B Nagendra, who had gone missing for several weeks amid political turmoil in Karnataka, surfaced in Bengaluru Wednesday two days after the party recommended their disqualification to the state assembly Speaker.
Jarkiholi, Kumathahalli and Nagendra attended the Karnataka assembly session on Wednesday as the ruling party accused the BJP of leading them astray.
Influential Belgavi leader Jarkiholi, Jadhav, Kumathali and Nagendra were issued show cause notices by Congress Legislative Party chief Siddaramaiah after they skipped the CLP meeting in January as well as this month. They had been absent from the budget session of the state assembly as well.
It was called to take stock of the Congress’s strength amid speculation that some legislators were about to resign from the party and in the process of destabilising the coalition government of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular).
Jarkiholi came back to Bengaluru on Tuesday night, news agency ANI reported.
“I have small issues with my party leaders. There was some miscommunication. I was not satisfied with some of the party decisions. As this is a budget session, I have come back,” Kumathali was quoted as saying by ANI.
Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli, who were untraceable for the past few weeks, wrote to former chief minister Siddaramaiah earlier in January to reiterate their loyalty to the party after they were sent notices for failing to attend a meeting of the CLP.
“The BJP led them astray from their path. Now they have realised that the path they had chosen was a wrong on, and that they will have to suffer on that path. They have now returned home,” Karnataka minister Zameer Ahmed Khan said, according to ANI.
“Now, the party high command will decide. The decision to disqualify them has been taken in the CLP meeting. We have given a letter to the Governor already,” Khan said.
Khan was referring to the Congress’s tough stand on the four leaders, who have said they will not be able to attend the 10-day budget session and also skipped a legislature party meeting. Their prolonged absence appears to have emboldened the BJP and sparked fresh speculations over the future of the ruling alliance.
Similarly, Janata Dal(Secular) leader KC Narayana Gowda reiterated he was being treated for food poisoning in a hospital after speculation over his political move following his absence from the assembly session in Karnataka.
“The BJP can’t and never purchase me. If I want I can bring 10 BJP MLAs. I was admitted in hospital after food poisoning, I have the hospital bills. There will be some internal issues inside the party and we’ll clear it as usual,” Narayana Gowda said, according to news agency ANI.
Reports had said Gowda was not happy with chief minister HD Kumaraswamy for ignoring his constituency Krishnarajpet.
The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been levelling accusations at each other of poaching legislators in Karnataka where the former, in partnership with the Janata Dal (Secular), runs the state with a majority of seven seats.