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Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2019

“BJP has kidnapped our MLAs and is keeping them at gunpoint: Azad

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KARNATAKAMLABANGALURU/NEW DELHI : Karnataka’s Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government, on the verge of losing its majority after 14 exits, won a breather on Tuesday as Speaker Ramesh Kumar decided that the resignations were not in order.
None of the lawmakers had met him, Mr Kumar told the Governor in a letter. While this buys the ruling coalition a little more time, more exits may be inevitable. A dozen Congress lawmakers skipped a meeting today despite compulsory attendance. Three of them called in sick.
The Speaker, who was not in office when 13 rebel Congress and JDS lawmakers submitted their resignations on Saturday, said he would act according to the constitution. “The MLAs have not given letters as per law, so they have to come again and give me. Out of 13 resignations, eight are not in order,” he said.
If the resignations stand the Speaker’s scrutiny, the Congress-JDS coalition’s 118 members in the 224-seat state assembly will come down to 102 and the majority mark will drop from 113 to 105. The BJP has 105 members and the support of the two Independents, which takes its tally to 107.
Congress leader Siddaramaiah warned of action against the dissident lawmakers. He said he had asked the Speaker to not only disqualify them but also ban them from contesting polls for six years. This morning, 12 lawmakers skipped his meeting, alarming the party. Three of them called in sick.
A lawmaker who did attend the meeting, Sowmya Reddy, indicated she was not ruling out resigning. “I am not really sure,” she said, when asked about the coalition’s survival. Sowmya Reddy’s father Ramalinga Reddy is among the lawmakers who quit on Saturday. “My father did this because he had been upset about double standards,” Ms Reddy told .
The rebels were shifted out of the Sofitel in Mumbai after Youth Congress workers protested outside the hotel. All coalition ministers quit yesterday to make room for the dissident lawmakers as the Congress and JDS went all out to try and bring them back. To prevent more exits, the JDS has put up its remaining lawmakers to a resort of the outskirts of Bengaluru. Sources said the party has also booked 35 rooms in Paddington Resort in Kodagu.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who cut short a private visit to the US and returned to handle the crisis, said all Congress and JDS ministers had resigned and a cabinet reshuffle would take place soon. “The government will survive,” he told .
The coalition’s troubles deepened after two independent lawmakers H Nagesh and R Shankar, who were made ministers last month in an attempt to consolidate numbers, resigned and pledged support to the BJP.
DK Shivakumar accused the BJP and its Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa of engineering the resignations and then ferrying the lawmakers to Mumbai on special flights. He will go to Mumbai tomorrow to meet the rebel lawmakers. Congress MPs staged a walkout in parliament to protest against what they allege are the

The Karnataka crisis spilled over to the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, with Congress members storming into the well of the House, forcing Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn proceedings twice. Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad said an adjournment motion notice was given to the Chairman under Rule 267.

“The Congress has eight MPs in Rajya Sabha and we had given a notice to the Chairman to raise the Karnataka issue in Rajya Sabha, but the Chairman did not allow it. We will raise the demand again in the House once it reassembles,” Hariprasad said.

Amid the political situation in Karnataka where 30 ministers of the ruling Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JD(S)) coalition have resigned, Congress MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and K Suresh had also given an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over the matter.
More than a dozen members of the legislative Assembly (MLAs) from the Congress had tendered their resignation over the weekend. As such, the tally of the ruling coalition could come down drastically and thus threaten the future of the government.

Congress leader Zameer Ahmad has claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party is keeping the rebel MLAs at “gunpoint” and has also seized their mobile phones. “They’re not even allowed to talk to their family members. If set free, the MLAs will return to us. About five people each are keeping a watch on them,” he said.

“State after state, opposition Govt are being toppled & Govt of India is using Governors for this. From Arunachal Pradesh to Karnataka, Governors side with defectors&help them in coming out of Congress. We appeal to the nation to rise to the occasion to save this democracy,” adds congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad talks to reporters after senior congress leaders held a meet in Bengaluru, says democracy is being finished in the country. “BJP has kidnapped our MLAs and is keeping them at gunpoint. Their mobile phones have been seized. They’re not even allowed to talk to their family members.
(With Inputs from Delhi ).

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