Attempts by mediapersons to sneak in a luxury hotel where some Congress MLAs from Karnataka were staying proved futile, amid talk of BJP's 'Operation Lotus' to topple the coalition government in the neighbouring state. Security was beefed up at the five-star resort in suburban Mumbai where two independent MLAs and reportedly four Congress MLAs from Karnataka are staying. The Congress suspects that some of its MLAs are lodged in the Powai-based hotel, kept secretly by BJP leaders. Many journalists and Congress workers were seen in the vicinity of the hotel, searching for the "missing" Congress MLAs.
There was a large media presence outside the hotel Tuesday after the two independent MLAs announced they were withdrawing support to the Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka.
Earlier on Tuesday, some mediapersons managed to sneak in the hotel but could not progress beyond the hotel lobby. The hotel security and local police were at the main gate to monitor those entering the premises.
There were speculations that Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar may visit the hotel but that did not materialise.
Shivakumar had on Sunday claimed that three Congress MLAs were camping at the hotel in the "company of some BJP leaders". "We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them," Shivakumar had said.
Earlier in the day, in a big setback to HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government, two MLAs have withdrawn their support to the state government. The lawmakers who have withdrawn their support are H Nagesh (Independent) and R Shankar (Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha). The development comes amid reports of some Congress MLAs go missing.
However, Kumaraswamy said that he is totally relaxed as his government has the required numbers in the Karnataka Assembly. “If two MLAs withdraw their support, what will be the numbers? I'm totally relaxed. I know my strength. Whatever is going on in media in the past week, I am enjoying,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Commenting on the development, Deputy Karnataka CM G Parameshwara said it proves our accusations. "We have been saying that BJP is luring our MLAs through money and power but their attempts to destabilise the govt will fail. Our government is stable," he said.
"My support to coalition government was to provide a good and stable government which utterly failed. There's is no understanding among coalition partners. So, I decided to go with BJP to install a stable government and see that government performs better than the coalition," Independent MLA H Nagesh said.
“Today is Makar Sankranti, on this day we want a change in the government. The govt should be efficient, so I am withdrawing my support (to the Karnataka govt) today,” R Shankar of KPJP.
Both the MLAs have written to Governor Vajubhai Vala conveying their decision. In separate identical letters, available to the media, they said they were withdrawing support extended to the coalition government of the Congress and the JDS with immediate effect.
The MLAs, who are now staying in a Mumbai hotel, requested the governor to take "necessary action."
In the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, the BJP has 104 members, the Congress 80 (including Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar), Kumaraswamy’s JD (S) has 37, the BSP, the KPJP and Independent one each. The BSP is supporting the coalition government.
(With PTI inputs)