Karnataka crisis: After 5-hour stakeout to meet rebels, Congress’s DK Shivakumar detained
Shivram Hebbar, Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, Byrati Basavraj, ST Somshekar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Gopalaiyya, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda and Mahesh Kumutali have written to the commissioner of police seeking security.Updated: Jul 10, 2019 19:42 IST
DK Shivakumar, Congress troubleshooter, and other leaders waiting in the rain outside the five-star hotel in Mumbai to meet and pacify a group of rebel MLAs from Karnataka were detained by the police on Wednesday.
Congress’ Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam, who are in a middle of feud and had come to meet Karnataka leader DK Shivakumar, were also taken away by the police in a van. Karnataka higher education minister GT Deve Gowda and JD(S) legislators Shivalinga Gowda and CN Balakrishnan were also detained.
WATCH | Karnataka crisis: Cong’s Shivakumar tries to meet rebels in Mumbai, detained
Mumbai Police had earlier imposed a prohibition on gatherings out the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in Powai. The police action came after Shivram Hebbar, Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, Byrati Basavraj, ST Somshekar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Gopalaiyya, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda and Mahesh Kumutali had written the letter to Mumbai Police’s commissioner seeking protection.
The 10 rebel MLAs have claimed that they feel “threatened” as some leaders from their state would “storm” the hotel.
The rebel lawmakers from the Congress and Janata Dal(Secular) had said in their letter to the police that they do not want to meet the two leaders and asked the police to not to allow them to enter the hotel. The legislators have now approached the Supreme Court complaining that Karnataka assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was delaying accepting their letters of resignation, which they sent last week.
Mumbai Police imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), at Powai police jurisdiction as the hotel comes under its jurisdiction. Not more than four people can gather at the place now. “This is to prevent unlawful assembly of people outside the hotel,” police officer Vinay Chaubey said.
DK Shivakumar had earlier seemed undeterred as the rebel leaders’ supporters shouted slogans of “go back” and the hotel cancelled his booking.
“I’ll not go without meeting my friends … They’ll call me. Their heart will break. I’m in touch with them already, hearts of both of us are beating,” he said, according to news agency ANI.
“They should be proud of a customer like me. I love Mumbai. I love this hotel. Let them cancel. I have other rooms also,” he said on the cancellation of his booking.
Personnel of the Maharashtra State Reserve Police Force and Riot Control Police threw a security ring outside the Powai hotel as supporters of JD(S) leader Narayan Gowda also hung around.
Congress leader ST Somashekar, holed up inside the hotel, said he and his colleagues don’t intend to insult DK Shivakumar.
“We’ve faith in him but there is a reason we have taken this step. Friendship, love and affection are on one side. With gratitude and respect we request him to understand why we cannot meet him today,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Another Congress leader Ramesh Jarkiholi went a step further and said, “We are not interested in meeting him. No one from BJP is here to meet us.”
Also Watch | Karnataka crisis | Shivakumar stopped from entering hotel to meet rebel MLAs
Karnataka in crisis
DK Shivakumar’s visit comes a day after Karnataka’s wobbly coalition government received a breather after assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar rejected the resignations of eight lawmakers and asked five others to meet and convince him that their letters offering to demit membership of the House were indeed genuine.
Kumar’s decisions came as top Congress and Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), leaders scrambled to win back rebels whose withdrawal has endangered the alliance’s thin majority in the Karnataka assembly.
Kumar, who returned to Bengaluru on Tuesday after an outstation trip, said eight of the 13 MLAs who resigned last week did not submit their letters in the prescribed format and would have to personally furnish fresh resignation letters.
The other five – including former state home minister Ramalinga Reddy, seen to be a key leader of the rebel group – were asked to meet the speaker on Friday, when the assembly commences its monsoon session, and on Monday to convince Kumar that their letters were voluntary and had not been coerced.
All 13 MLAs – 10 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) – submitted their resignations to the speaker’s office last week, threatening the government’s slim majority in the 224-member assembly.
Two independent MLAs withdrew their support to the state’s Congress-JD(S) coalition government on Monday. A suspended lawmaker separately confirmed he would quit. Earlier, 12 lawmakers put in their papers on Saturday.
The strength of Karnataka’s 224-member assembly will be reduced to 211 if their resignations are accepted. A party or a coalition would need 106 seats to form a government in such a scenario.
The Congress-JD (S) coalition will be left with 104 members while the BJP will have the support of 105. The BJP is also likely to get the backing of two independents.
First Published: Jul 10, 2019 08:05 IST