Will meet speaker, but won't withdraw resignation: MLA

Byrathi Basavaraj. DH file photo

The rebel Karnataka MLAs, who are staying at a hotel here, said they would meet the state Assembly Speaker on Thursday, as directed by the Supreme Court, but would not withdraw their resignations.

The apex court on Thursday allowed 10 rebel legislators of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka to meet the Assembly speaker at 6 pm to convey their decision to resign to him.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Karnataka Assembly speaker to take a decision on the resignation of the MLAs during the course of the day.

Reacting to the court's directive, rebel MLA Byrathi Basavaraj, who is staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Powai along with his other dissident colleagues, told reporters that they would meet the Karnataka Assembly speaker by 4 pm.

"We respect the Supreme Court's directives. We will meet the speaker today itself by 4 pm and tender our resignations. We will not withdraw our resignations," he said.

Asked whether the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was behind their decision to resign from the Karnataka Assembly, Basavaraj said, "The BJP is not behind our decision. It has nothing to do with the BJP."

Fourteen MLAs -- including those of the Congress, the JD(S) and independents -- have been staying at the hotel here after resigning from the Karnataka Assembly and withdrawing support to the coalition government in the southern state.

On Wednesday, senior Karnataka minister D K Shivakumar was prevented by police from entering the hotel when he insisted on meeting the rebel MLAs, in a desperate bid to pull the Congress-JD(S) government back from the brink of collapse.

He was later detained and sent back to Bengaluru.

The ruling coalition in the southern state faces the threat of losing its majority if the resignations of the rebel MLAs are accepted.

The coalition's total strength is 116 (Congress 78, JD-S 37, BSP one), besides the speaker.

The monsoon session of the Karnataka legislature is scheduled to commence from Friday.

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