Congress steps up efforts to persuade Ramalinga Reddy

Ramalinga Reddy. (DH File Photo)

The Congress on Sunday intensified efforts to persuade another rebel MLA Ramalinga Reddy to withdraw his resignation from the Karnataka assembly, in a desperate bid to save the Congress-JD(S) government that is teetering in the wake of resignation of its legislators.

Congress state working president Eshwar Khandre and senior leader H K Patil had a meeting with BTM Layout MLA Ramalinga Reddy at his residence for about two hours.

The meeting with Reddy came on a day rebel Congress MLA M T B Nagaraj headed to Mumbai after talks on Saturday to mollify him appeared to have failed. However, a state Congress leader expressed confidence that he has gone to bring back another disgruntled lawmaker.

Leaders of the Congress-JD(S) coalition held negotiations with Hoskote MLA Nagaraj on Saturday to woo him back to save the 13-month old H D Kumaraswamy-led government that is on the brink of collapse.

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Speaking to reporters after meeting Reddy, Khandre exuded confidence that the BTM Layout legislator would withdraw his resignation.

"Ramalinga Reddy is a senior MLA who won the assembly elections multiple times and became minister. His contribution to the party is very significant and we need him.

"We have requested him to stay back in the party and also to withdraw his resignation," Khandre told reporters.

Patil echoed the same sentiments and underlined that the party was passing through a difficult phase.

"The party is in trouble. Congress is of the opinion that the coalition government should survive and serve the people.He (Reddy) is our leader who has done a lot for the party.

"Today his presence is required the most. Against this backdrop we have asked him to withdraw his resignation," he told reporters.

Reddy said he will not speak on the matter till he appears before the Karnataka assembly Speaker on Monday.

On Saturday, a team of BJP leaders led by Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath and Padmanabha Reddy had called on him at his residence.

"Ramalinga Reddy has neither gone to Mumbai nor given any statement that can be considered as anti-party activity. It is incumbent upon us to persuade him. We are sure he won't leave the party," Congress spokesperson Subhash Agarwal.

The coalition government is on a sticky wicket with 16 MLAs--13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) -- resigning from the assembly.

Besides, two independent legislators, who were made ministers recently to provide stability, have quit the cabinet.

The independents -- H Nagesh and R Shankar have also withdrawn support to the coalition government and are now supporting the BJP.

The ruling coalition's strength in the House is 116 (Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and BSP one), besides the speaker.

With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House.

If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will be reduced to 100. The Speaker has a vote too.

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