The political crisis in Karnataka intensified on Sunday as Congress confined its MLAs to a resort outside the city for another night after four of them didn’t turn up during the party’s legislature meeting amid claims of poaching by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Karnataka Congress in-charge KC Venugopal will Sunday have a one on one discussions with all the Congress MLAs amid reports that disgruntled Congress MLAs may resign from the party. "KC Venugopal will interact individually with our MLAs regarding parliamentary elections and decision on our future course of action will be taken,” state unit President Dinesh Gundu Rao tweeted.
The Congress party has been accusing the BJP of trying to topple the Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka after three of them went incommunicado. The BJP, however, said it has no such intentions and leveled counter allegations of poaching against the ruling coalition. Citing the same fear, the BJP had also sent its MLAs to a luxury resort in Gurugram but they all returned to Bengaluru on Saturday.
“Our MLAs are returning to Bengaluru from Delhi. We will tour the state and analyse the situation of drought. We will not destabilise this govt at any cost. Congress and JDS need not worry," former Karnataka Chief Minister and senior BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa said.
The political crisis gripped the south Indian state after Karnataka minister and Congress strongman DK Shivakumar said that three of their MLAs have gone missing and claimed that they were at a Mumbai hotel with BJP leaders. Shivakumar also alleged that they were offered money to switch sides. Following the claims, the Congress called a legislature meeting to test the loyalties of its MLAs. However, the three MLAs skipped the meeting furthering the speculations of them quitting the party.
The MLAs who failed to attend the session were - Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was removed as a minister in the recent cabinet rejig, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli. The coalition government in Karnataka had suffered the first major setback when two MLAs, an Independent and a member of the Karnataka Pragnyavantara Janata Paksha, Tuesday withdrew support to the government.
There was no immediate threat to the government with the withdrawal of support, but speculation was rife that many other disgruntled Congress MLAs could follow suit by resigning from the Assembly, though the party has maintained that its flock is intact. In the 224-member Assembly, BJP has 104 members, Congress has 79, JDS 37, BSP, KPJP and Independent one each, besides the Speaker.