Cong issues warning to ‘rebel’ MLAs

AICC general secretary and Karnataka in charge K C Venugopal. DH file photo.

With dissident activities continuing unabated, the state Congress on Sunday issued a stern warning to those raising a banner of revolt against the party.

As rumours flew thick and fast about ‘rebel’ MLAs being lured away by the BJP, AICC general secretary and Karnataka in charge K C Venugopal rushed to Bengaluru to take stock of the situation.

By travelling out of the city together, three MLAs - K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapur), M T B Nagaraj (Hoskote) and Independent MLA H Nagesh (Mulbagal), had set off speculations on Saturday that they were headed to a resort in Mumbai via Chennai.

The Congress, which had defended the MLAs by saying that they had only gone to Chennai for a temple visit, however made sure that they returned to Bengaluru the same night.

Speaking to reporters, Venugopal on Sunday said that his party would not tolerate any form of indiscipline or anti-party activities. He however pinned the blame on the BJP for the latest development.

“One or two MLAs are playing mischief. But the Congress is strong enough to deal with them. No amount of blackmailing, threats or foul play will be tolerated. But why aren’t you talking about the BJP’s attempts? One of our MLAs told me that Yeddyurappa himself called him on WhatsApp and offered him money to come to the BJP. The party started horse-trading from Day One (of the coalition government). Where is it getting the money to offer these kind of amounts? We know the ground reality. Hence, we are not initiating action (against the MLAs). We will verify why that trip to Chennai was made,” he added.

Venugopal also said that the second round Cabinet expansion would happen before October 10. Upon the return of the MLAs from Chennai, Siddaramaiah is learned to have taken Sudhakar, a close associate, to task for putting him in an embarrassing position.

With his followers in the party rebelling one after the other, Siddaramaiah is worried that all eyes are on him- for wrong reasons.

Reprimanding Sudhakar for putting him in bad situation, Siddaramaiah is however said to have coaxed the disgruntled MLA to stay back in the party.

The Congress is however yet to pacify Hoskote MLA Nagaraj, who is vying for a ministerial berth. Party leaders including D K Shivakumar and Zameer Ahmed Khan visited him at his residence, and later took him to meet with Venugopal. The MLA, who continues to remain firm about his demands, is slated to meet Siddaramaiah on Monday.

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Cong issues warning to ‘rebel’ MLAs

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