The Congress in Karnataka on Thursday called for a meeting of its legislature party on January 18 amid allegations of horse-trading, PTI reported. The development follows a claim by the Congress party that five of its lawmakers were lured to a Mumbai hotel by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Former Chief Minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah’s office announced that the meeting will be held on Friday at the Vidhana Soudha or state secretariat. Siddaramaiah warned lawmakers that the party will use the anti-defection law against those who fail to attend meeting, ANI reported. “It will be assumed that member himself has decided to leave primary membership of party,” Siddaramaiah told reporters.
The ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition now has 116 legislators in the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly, while the BJP has 104 MLAs. The majority mark is 113.
On Tuesday, two independent legislators withdrew their support to the coalition.
Siddaramaiah repeated his party’s claims against the BJP. “They [BJP] do not have any belief in democracy,” the former chief minister told reporters. “People have given them a mandate in the election to sit in the opposition. In the last six months, they have been trying to destabilise this government.”
The Congress leader also accused Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa of trying to lure his party’s lawmakers with money. “Yeddyurappa has grown old, but has no brain,” Siddaramaiah claimed. “He is around 76 years of age, but still he wants to become the chief minister through wrong means by offering crores of rupees to our MLAs.”
Karnataka Pradesh Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao echoed Siddaramaiah’s claims and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah of “trying to lure” its legislators.
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Karnataka KC Venugopal said the party and coalition will remain intact for the rest of its term. “Nothing is going to happen. All the Congress MLAs are intact, we are in touch with all of them,” Venugopal said.