Caught on the back foot, the Congress resolved to drive a hard bargain with the disgruntled MLAs on Wednesday.
The party, which was been covertly negotiating with the MLAs, openly sent out feelers to them.
To begin with, the Congress began by reaching out to the Independent MLAs, who have withdrawn support to the coalition government.
Assuring to “fulfil” his demand, the party on Wednesday made a desperate plea to Independent MLA H Nagesh (Mulbagal) to come back to the party fold.
Speaking to reporters after meeting with AICC general secretary K C Venugopal at the Kumara Krupa guest house, Congress MP K H Muniyappa said the Congress had decided to meet the MLA halfway.
“Nagesh is a Congress-backed MLA. He should immediately come back, even if has jumped ship to the BJP. He has won by securing secular votes. The party is ready to fulfil his demand. If not a ministerial berth, the party is ready to appoint him to a statutory body,” he added. Sources said that the coalition partners are also making attempts to pacify KPJP MLA and former Forest Minister R Shankar (Ranebennur) who had withdrawn his support to the government along with Nagesh on Tuesday.
The party also paraded a few “missing” MLAs who were suspected to have jumped ship to the BJP, before the media.
Hagaribommanahalli MLA Bheema Naik and Raichur Rural MLA Basangouda Daddal said that they were not quitting the Congress.
“I am very much around. I came back to Bengaluru yesterday (Tuesday) from Goa. I had met Siddaramaiah in the morning. There is no question of me quitting the party. The BJP had tried to get in touch with me on previous occasions, but not this time,” said Naik, adding that Kampli MLA J N Ganesh too had no plans of quitting the Congress. Ganesh is learnt to be in Chikkamagaluru.
Stating that he was very much in his constituency, Daddal said that he had not made himself scarce. “I had not gone anywhere or even turned off my phone, for the Congress to bring me back. I am answerable to my two lakh voters. The media should stop putting us in a fix by spreading unnecessary rumours,” he added.