Coalition jittery as 3 Congress MLAs leave for Chennai

H Nagesh, K Sudhakar and M T B Nagaraj. DH File Photos.

Speculation was rife in the state’s political circles on Saturday that a section of Congress MLAs had rebelled against the party, posing a threat to the JD(S)-Congress coalition government.

Hoskote MLA M T B Nagaraj and Chikkaballapur MLA K Sudhakar (both Congress) and Mulbagal MLA H Nagesh (Independent, supporting Congress) left for Chennai and the speculation was that they would reach Mumbai on Sunday.

It was said that around 10 MLAs were already in Mumbai and staying at a star hotel. However, there was no confirmation of the development nor the names of the legislators were available.

One version doing the rounds was that these legislators were unhappy with the state of affairs in the Congress and that they were upset over not being made ministers. The aggrieved legislators were only mounting pressure on the party to get Cabinet berths.

Congress leaders charged that it was the gameplan of the BJP to destabilise the coalition government. “We have information that the BJP is trying to poach our MLAs by offering them enticements. However, they will not succeed,” KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters in Bengaluru.

When contacted, Sudhakar said, “Nagesh, Nagaraj and myself are in Chennai to visit a temple. We are coming back to Bengaluru. We are loyal Congressmen and the question of quitting the party does not arise.”

Hirekerur MLA B C Patil’s name did the rounds that he was among the legislators in Mumbai. When contacted, Patil said, “At present, I am in my constituency. I don’t know who is spreading all these lies.”

A section of Congress MLAs from Ballari district, who were said to be disgruntled with the party and were planning to jump ship to the BJP, turned up at former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s residence in Bengaluru.

They include Vijayanagara MLA Anand Singh, Kampli MLA J N Ganesh and Ballari Rural MLA B Nagendra. Soon Siddaramaiah’s residence became a beehive of activity with leaders, ministers and MLAs arriving one after another. Siddaramaiah held discussions with Rao, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Law Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, Kanakagiri MLA and former minister Shivaraj Thangadagi among others.

Siddaramaiah has convened the legislature party meeting on September 25 in Bengaluru to discuss the forthcoming polls to three seats in the Legislative Council. Winning all the three seats is crucial for the coalition government, election for which is scheduled for October 4. Members of the Legislative Assembly form the electoral college and 112 votes are required to win one seat.

The present strength of the JD(S)-Congress alliance in the Assembly is 117. BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly polls, has 104 MLAs. Congress and JD(S) leaders are apprehensive that the BJP will scuttle its changes of their victory by making a few legislators of the alliance stay away from the Council elections.

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said the resentment in the Congress was a reflection of the state of affairs in the party.

“It is totally an internal matter of the Congress. The BJP has no role to play and is being wrongly blamed. Why should we destabilise the government? The Congress leaders are making the charges to cover up the failures of the government,” Yeddyurappa said.

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Coalition jittery as 3 Congress MLAs leave for Chennai

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