Karnataka crisis: Congress tries to woo rebel MLAs
Bengaluru: The beleaguered ruling Congress in Karnataka is wooing some of its rebel MLAs to withdraw their resignations and help its tottering coalition government with the JD-S survive the political crisis gripping the state, a party official said on Saturday.
“Our senior leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, D.K. Shivakumar and Krishna Byre Gowda have almost convinced Housing Minster M.T.B. Nagaraj to withdraw his resignation and attend the Assembly session from Monday,” party spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS here.
Of the 16 rebels legislators who resigned, 13 belong to the Congress and three to the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).
Nagaraj told reporters outside his house here that he would think over the party’s plea and decide by Monday.
Gowda said that Congress leaders were also in touch with R. Ramalinga Reddy and K. Sudhakar to convince them to withdraw their resignations from their Assembly seats.
Eight-time lawmaker from the city, Reddy submitted his resignation to Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar on July 6 along with nine others and Sudhakar on July 10 along with Nagaraj.
As the Speaker found Reddy’s resignation in the right format, Kumar summoned the latter to meet him on July 15 to satisfy that he resigned voluntarily and his resignation was genuine.
Reddy said: “I have not yet decided if I should withdraw my resignation and attend the Assembly session from Monday. I will discuss the issue with my people, including party cadres, supporters and family members before taking the decision.”
Reddy represents the BTM Layout segment in the city’s southern suburb and Sudhakar Chikkaballapur, about 60 km northeast of Bengaluru. Nagaraj is from Hoskote in Bengaluru Rural.
Reddy’s daughter, Sowmya Reddy, is the party’s legislator from the Jayanagar seat in the city south.
Gowda asserted: “We are confident that Nagaraj, Reddy and Sudhakar will take back their resignations from the Speaker and attend the Assembly from Monday.”
The party’s leaders are also trying to rein in Anand Singh of Vijayanagara seat in the state’s northwest Ballari district, who resigned on July 1, triggering a spate of resignations by the remaining rebels.
“We are, however, unable to reach out sven more rebels who are in Mumbai along with three JD-S rebels. Though they flew to Bengaluru on July 11 and re-submitted their resignations in the prescribed format to the Speaker in the legislative building on the Supreme Court directive, they went back to Mumbai on the same night under police security,” admitted Gowda.
Party’s effort to meet the rebels in Mumbai by sending Shivakumar on Monday failed as they did not even agree to meet him in a star hotel they have been staying since July 6 after they resigned and flew in a chartered flight on the same night.
As the Congress recently suspended another rebel R. Roshan Baig on June 19 for his alleged anti-party activities, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has stepped in to make him too withdraw his resignation from the Shivajinagar seat in the city centre.
“As Baig resigned from his constituency on July 9 for being suspended after he criticised the party’s state unit for its debacle in the recent Lok Sabha elections, winning only one seat (Bangalore Rural), the party is not wooing him to withdraw his resignation. Kumaraswamy is trying to get him back in the party fold. We welcome him without conditions and assurances,” added Gowda.
The seven rebels currently in Mumbai are Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavraju, B.C. Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, S.T. Somashekar, Prathapgouda Patil and Mahesh Kumatahali.
The JD-S rebels with them are K. Gopalaiah, A.H. Vishwanath and K.C. Narayan Gowda.