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Published On: Fri, Jan 18th, 2019

Worried Congress moves its MLAs to resort as 4 skip its meet

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ktk-18By M CHENNA NAGRAJ:
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EW DELHI : Four dissidents skipped the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Bengaluru on January 18 that was called as a show of strength to counter the alleged bid by the BJP to topple the coalition government in Karnataka. Their absence posed no imminent threat to the seven-month old Congress-JD(S) government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy but suggested that all was not well within the Congress, which has been hit by dissidence.
The party will issue notice to Ramesh Jarkiholi, B. Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli, seeking an explanation from them for their absence, CLP leader Siddaramaiah said. Briefing reporters after the CLP meeting, Mr. Siddaramaiah said after receiving the replies from the absentee lawmakers, the issue would be discussed with the party high command and State leaders before deciding on the next step.
Alarmed by the absence of four of its lawmakers at the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting, the state leadership today decided to move its members to a resort in suburban Bengaluru to prevent them from being poached by the opposition BJP.
With this development the strength of the Congress-JD-S coalition seem to have reduced to 114 seats from 120 seats prior to the withdrawal of two Independent MLAs which triggered the crisis. The numbers indicate that the coalition is safe for the time being with 113 being the figure for a bare majority but will have to hang on to power precariously with this wafer thin margin.

BJP is the single largest party with 104 members and its strength has increased to 106 after the switch by the Independents. Congress has 80 members including the Speaker followed by 37 of the JD-S. One BSP member is part of the JD -S. The coalition also has the support of one Nominated Anglo Indian member in the 225 member House.
Four members who absented were former Minister Ramesh Jarakiholi, Mahesh Kamatalli, Mr Umesh Jadhav and Nagendra. Of them the first two did not make any response while Mr Jadhav had sent them a mail informing the leaders that he was unable to attend the meeting because of health reasons while Mr Nagendra had spoken to Congress General Secretary informing him that he was unable to attend the meeting due to his engagements involving court cases.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said Mr. Jadhav had written saying that he would not be able to attend the meet as he was unwell, while Mr. Nagendra had spoken to AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal conveying his inability to attend because of a court case. The other two MLAs had not communicated anything. Mr. Jarkiholi was dropped as Minister in the recent cabinet reshuffle and is said to be extremely unhappy over it
We have decided to seek explanation from these members who were not personally present and decide future course in consultation with High Command, Mr Siddaramaiah told a news conference in Bengaluru after the meet. He alleged that the BJP’s national leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah were involved in this operation because their internal surveys had predicted only three to four Lok Sabha seats out of 28 constituencies in Karnataka. BJP currently has 17 Lok Sabha members.
Meanwhile BJP’s 104 MLAs continue to stay put at their Haryana resort, a stay they extended after the conclusion of their party’s. National Council meeting last week end. The CLP meeting among others included Congress Parliamentary Party leader M Mallikarjuna Kharge besides party Members of Parliament and state legislative council.
Leader of Opposition and state BJP President B S Yeddyyurappa mocked at the Congress for moving their MLAs to resort. They were making fun of us when our MLAs were discussing their strategy to face Lok Sabha polls. They were taunting us that our legislators were having a gala time in a Haryana resort. What are they doing now? He asked. He said if this is the state of affairs, being the opposition party we will not keeping quiet. We will take the issue to people, he said.(With Agency Inputs ).

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