Some rebel MLAs attempted to call me, says Siddaramaiah

Some rebel MLAs attempted to call me, says Siddaramaiah

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah on Saturday claimed that some MLAs from the rebel camp tried contacting him ahead of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's floor test. 

"It’s true, some of them called me. They’re afraid of being disqualified. But I didn’t answer their calls,” Siddaramaiah told reporters. He was responding to a claim former Home minister M B Patil made earlier in the day that two rebel MLAs had called up Siddaramaiah, declining to name them.   

Yediyurappa, who installed the BJP’s government after the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) coalition, is all set to undergo a floor test to prove his majority on Monday. 

The Yediyurappa-led BJP currently has a strength of 106 members, including an Independent legislator. During the floor test, the BJP will have to make sure the Congress-JD(S) coalition tally remains restricted to 99 or 100 by ensuring that 16-17 MLAs, including the rebels, abstain. Over a dozen rebels are currently holed up in Maharashtra. 

Earlier this week, Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar ordered disqualification of three rebel MLAs - Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathalli and R Shankar - under the anti-defection law, barring them for the entire tenure of the incumbent 15th Legislative Assembly till May 2023. They cannot contest the ensuing byelections, Kumar said. 

The Congress hopes that their disqualification will unsettle the rebel camp and some of them might want to come back fearing disqualification, which could jeopardise their political future. 

JD(S) rebel legislator H Vishwanath, however, rubbished these claims while speaking to a news channel. "It's false. They’re trying to create confusion that something will happen on Monday. We're intelligent enough. They're trying to mislead us, but we won't go astray. They are the ones who are misled," Vishwanath said, adding that none of the rebels was afraid of disqualification. 

Congress' rebel B C Patil, too, refuted Siddaramaiah's claim, daring him to name the MLAs who called him. 

Asked if the rebels will show up for Yediyurappa’s confidence motion on Monday, Siddaramaiah said: "I don’t know who’ll come or who will not. But who’s the one keeping them? If they had come and if they hadn’t been kept captive, the Kumaraswamy government wouldn’t have gone. By horse trading, holding them captive and lures...it isn’t the victory of people. It’s the victory of horse trading.”