Congress seeks Shankar’s disqualification

Congress seeks Shankar’s disqualification

Ranebennur legislator R Shankar. DH photo

The Congress has moved a petition seeking disqualification of Ranebennur legislator R Shankar under the anti-defection law, even as confusion reigns on whether he belongs to the party or not. 

With this, the Congress has sought disqualification of totally 13 MLAs. 

In his petition to Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah has sought Shankar’s disqualification for “conspiring to destabilise the government by hobnobbing with the members of the BJP.” 

According to the petition, Shankar’s request to the Speaker seeking a merger of his Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) into the Congress as per Clause 4(2) of the 10th Schedule had been accepted. “It was required for the respondent (Shankar) to maintain political propriety and morality but has violated the 10th Schedule by trying to destabilise the government in collusion with members of the BJP. The respondent is doing anti-party activities at the instance of the BJP,” the Congress’ petition states. 

However, it is learnt from the Speaker’s office that the merger of KPJP into the Congress has not happened as per rules. As a result, he continues to be a KPJP legislator and the Congress’ whip will not apply to him. 

Shankar was inducted into Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s Cabinet as the Forest minister. He withdrew his support earlier this year after he was removed from the Cabinet. He was inducted back into the Cabinet last month as the Municipalities minister.

“The respondent wanted a better portfolio which had already been given, the same was assured by the BJP for which the respondent resigned to join the BJP,” the petition claims. 

Besides Shankar, the Congress has sought disqualification of Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathalli, Pratapgouda Patil, B C Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, S T Somashekhar, Byrati Basavaraj, Anand Singh, R Roshan Baig, Munirathna, MTB Nagaraj and K Sudhakar. 

“Our disqualification petition with the Speaker against our MLAs is as per Section 2-1a of the anti-defection law,” state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said in a tweet. “It’s not for violating the whip but for indulging in anti-party activities, to join hands with BJP to topple our government and voluntarily giving up membership.”