All 3 parties guarding their flock closely

Fearing defections to the BJP by at least eight to 10 ruling party MLAs, coalition partners Congress and the JD(S) assumed an aggressive stance on Thursday, threatening their legislators with the anti-defection law if they skipped the legislature party meetings convened on Friday morning ahead of the Budget presentation.

In letters dispatched to all their MLAs, both parties have maintained that their absence will be construed as an “anti-party activity” that can attract disqualification.

To make matters worse for the coalition, speculation was rife that BJP state president and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, B S Yeddyurappa may parade the rebel MLAs during a press conference he has called on Friday morning.

The BJP is expected to continue its disruption of the Assembly even as Kumaraswamy presents the Budget. The Congress-JD(S) coalition will depend on Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to make sure agitating MLAs are regulated. The BJP will look at avoiding any punitive action by Kumar by staging symbolic or intermittent protests.

The party is also exploring three options — make these MLAs cross-vote when the finance bill is taken up for consideration; make them resign and approach the Governor stating that have no confidence in Kumaraswamy, thus mandating the chief minister to take a floor test; or restrain these MLAs from attending the rest of the session.

Disgruntled Congress MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Umesh G Jadhav (Chincholi), Mahesh Kumthalli (Athani) and B Nagendra (Bellary), who are reportedly in touch with the BJP, remained absent on the second day too.

Kampli MLA J N Ganesh too was absent. He is said to be with former BJP minister Janardhana Reddy in Hyderabad.Hirekerur MLA B C Patil too absented himself. Likewise, JD(S) MLA from K R Pet, Narayana Gowda, was also not to be seen. The two MLAs are said to be in touch with BJP leaders.

Another Congress MLA K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur), was not to be seen.

The JD(S) went on alert mode after realising that two to three more of its MLAs might jump ship to BJP. The leadership is worried that MLAs including B Sathyanarayana (Sira), K Srinivas Gowda (Kolar) and Devanand Chavan (Nagthan) might desert party.

The Congress, which is exploring legal options to deal with rebels.

“Disqualification (of MLAs) is easier said than done as it needs solid evidence,” a Congress leader said.

H D Kumaraswamy:

Tomorrow I will present my second Budget. I aspire to give a Budget that addresses the needs of all sections. I wish and hope that all honourable members will uphold the dignity and sanctity of the House.

CLP leader Siddaramaiah:

I have convened the legislature party meeting tomorrow. I am confident that all MLAs will be present. We will act against those who fail to attend.

Comments (+)