76 Congress lawmakers have been moved to a resort. (Image Credit: ANI)
The Congress has shifted its 76 MLAs to a private resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The party said that the move has been taken to foil any poaching bid by the Bharatiya Janata Party after four lawmakers skipped the Congress legislature party (CLP). "All our MLAs will stay together, we will discuss there about our situation. All our MLAs, MPs and ministers will stay together at one place.... We will stay as long it is necessary," CLP leader Siddaramaiah said.
Speaking to reporters, he said, "We will discuss about party issues....to escape from the onslaught by the BJP. We will discuss about drought, parliament election also."
Soon after the CLP meet, the Congress MLAs were herded together in two buses from the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat where the CLP was held, and taken to a resort near the city.
Bengaluru: Congress MLAs move to Eagleton resort after CLP meeting pic.twitter.com/Y2W9t0ZGEK— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2019
Earlier, 76 Congress lawmakers attended the CLP meeting, which was attended by Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal and deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, besides other state leaders.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah said that Congress will issue notices to all the four MLAs seeking an explanation for their absence at the meeting. Siddaramaiah said that after receiving the replies from the absentee lawmakers, the issue would be discussed with the party high command and state leaders before deciding on the next step.
The lawmakers who didn’t attend the meet are - Ramesh Jarkiholi - who was dropped as a minister in the recent cabinet rejig, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav, and Mahesh Kumatahalli.
Siddaramaiah said Jadhav had written to him saying he would not be able to attend as he was unwell, while Nagendra had spoken to Venugopal conveying his inability to be present because of a court case.
Ahead of the CLP meet, Siddaramaiah had issued notices to all the party MLAs warning that their absence would be viewed "seriously" and action initiated according to the anti-defection law.
Meanwhile, BJP MLAs continued to stay put at a luxury hotel in Gurugram, a move the party has defended saying it was to prevent the Congress from poaching them.