Cong MLAs to leave resort today after ‘counselling’

Cong MLAs to leave resort today after ‘counselling’

unity mantra: Coalition coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah addresses Congress legislators at a resort at Bidadi in Ramanagara district on Saturday. Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao and others are seen. dh pho

In a bid to address disgruntlement that the BJP is trying to tap into, AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal will meet miffed party legislators individually on Sunday.

Congress legislators are likely to leave the Bidadi resort on Sunday evening. They have been asked to return to their constituencies to address drought-related issues as a counter to a similar diktat the BJP has issued to its legislators.

This was the outcome of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting its leader Siddaramaiah chaired at the Bidadi resort on Saturday evening. Apparently, some MLAs complained that they had not received funds to take up development works in their constituencies.

Venugopal will interact individually with MLAs and a “decision on our future course of action will be taken,” KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao said. The CLP meet also discussed the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Siddaramaiah is also learnt to have asked MLAs to be “alert” and inform the party about any attempt by the BJP to poach them. However, according to party sources, the Congress is still unsure on how the situation will play out going forward, given that at least eight MLAs have committed to side with the BJP.

“The possibility, or threat, of some MLAs deserting the party remains. That is why we have explained to them how they may face action under the anti-defection law if they jump ship,” a Congress minister said.

The party has already made it clear that some Cabinet ministers were willing to step down to accommodate others, meaning it was ready to “let go” of those disgruntled who do not fall in line.

The four MLAs who skipped Friday’s CLP meet - Ramesh Jarkiholi, Umesh Jadhav, Mahesh Kumatahalli and B Nagendra - will be issued notices, Rao said. “While we are not happy to act against our MLAs, we expect a satisfactory response from them,” he said.

Rao said he was hopeful that Ramesh would return to the party fold. “He and I entered the Assembly together. We will give him one more chance. I’m sure Ramesh will not create a situation where we have to take action.”