Congress shifts MLAs out of Mumbai

Congress shifts MLAs out of Mumbai

Independent MLAs and legislators from smaller parties who were staying in Mumbai on Tuesday left the Maharashtra capital to avoid the media glare.

The Congress had on Sunday shifted some seven MLAs, including independents, to a hotel in Mumbai in the wake of possible horse trading ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for June 11. Many of these MLAs were shown in sting operations done by two national news channels, discussing sale of votes.

Sources in the Congress said party legislators from Yeshwantpur and K R Puram constituencies S T Somashekar and Byrati Basavaraj respectively left Mumbai along with the independent MLAs in the morning. They were planning to visit the pilgrim centre of Shirdi. It was not clear whether the MLAs will return to Bengaluru after their Shirdi visit.

Somashekar and Basavaraj, who are close confidants of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, have been given the responsibility of keeping the independent MLAs together till the elections are over. Besides, two other MLAs, Ashok Kheni and S N Subbareddy, returned to Karnataka. Mankal S Vaidya, Satish Sail, Guru Patil and Arvind Patil were among the MLAs who visited Shirdi, the sources said.

When contacted, Subbareddy, the MLA from Bagepalli, said he was in Mumbai on business visit and he has nothing to do with the Congress keeping some MLAs in a hotel there.

“It was a coincidence that on Sunday I travelled to Mumbai from Bengaluru in the same flight with other MLAs. I am a co-member of the Congress. I will vote for the party in the elections,” Subbareddy added.

Arvind Patil said he has not visited Mumbai along with other independents and that he was in his constituency Khanapur. The Congress needs the support of independent MLAs and legislators of smaller parties to ensure the victory of its third candidate K C Ramamurthy.

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