The Congress on Wednesday petitioned Legislative Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to defer the decision on rebel MLA Umesh Jadhav’s resignation till he takes a call on the party’s disqualification petition against the Chincholi legislator.
The disqualification petition was filed by the Congress on February 2 against Umesh Jadhav and three other MLAs - Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathalli - for indulging in anti-party activities. Though the four claimed that they were very much with the Congress, Jadhav had jumped ship to the BJP recently. The BJP has fielded him from Gulbarga.
In a letter, CLP leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao have said that Jadhav’s resignation was not permissible as the disqualification petition is still pending before the Speaker.
Highlighting violations by Jadhav, they have said that he had flouted the party whip by not attending the Assembly session. He had also not attended party meetings.
“Violating the Whip dated February 6 shows that Jadhav was not only giving up membership of Congress, but also conspiring to destabilise the government by associating with the members of the BJP,” said the letter.
Quoting Jadhav’s reply to the disqualification notice, the duo said that the MLA had claimed to be a Congress MLA. Jadhav’s conduct, two days after his resignation, showed that he was conspiring to dislodge the government all along. They have also said that the resignation letter was sent with the “sole intention to render the disqualification petition infructuous”.
“Jadhav, by his conduct, has voluntarily given up membership of the party even before tendering resignation and has incurred disqualification under para 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of Article 191 (2) of the Constitution. It is not permissible for Jadhav to resign from the membership when the (disqualification) petition is pending,” the petition said.
The Congress has also requested for a hearing to show that the resignation is not genuine. They have urged that the hearing on both the disqualification petition and the resignation matter could be held at the same time. The decision on Jadhav’s resignation should be deferred till the disqualification petition is decided, it said.
During an interaction with DH on Wednesday, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa reiterated that the party had ensured that there are no legal hurdles for Jadhav’s candidature. “100% he is the candidate, whether or not his resignation letter is accepted,” he added.
The party is ready with a backup option, if its plans of fielding Jadhav falls through. It has approached former IAS officer Ratna Prabha to contest from Gulbarga.
When contacted, Prabha said that she was keen on contesting the polls. “The party is yet to take a final call. But if they decide to field me, I will definitely contest. I am familiar with north Karnataka districts as I have worked there for 10 to 12 years. I have no objections to contest if they give me a ticket. I'm a late entrant. I'm keeping my fingers crossed,” she said.
Prabha said that she has held talks with the party’s core committee members. She said that if the BJP is not in a position to field her from Gulbarga, she was willing to contest from any other constituency.