Congress MLA JN Ganesh has denied that he hit another party legislator, Anand Singh, with a bottle at a resort near Bengaluru on Saturday evening. He claimed that Singh fell down and got hurt, the Hindustan Times reported. The Congress on Monday suspended Ganesh from the party on the directions of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundu Rao.
Singh was taken to hospital with a head injury on Sunday after the alleged incident. The Congress has denied reports that the two had a fight. One legislator, DK Suresh, claimed that Singh was hospitalised after he experienced chest pain. The Karnataka Police filed a first information report against Ganesh on charges of assault based on a complaint by Singh, ANI reported.
“Whatever media has created about [me] hitting [Singh] with bottle...[that Singh got] 14 to 20 stitches...are all completely false,” Ganesh said, according to PTI. However, Ganesh indicated that some kind of argument had taken place at the resort between the two.
Ganesh said another Congress MLA Bhima Naik and Singh had differences on some matter and he was trying to bring them together. “Bhima Naik, Anand Singh and I were there...while trying to work out a compromise between Bhima Naik and Anand Singh, some things happened...there was an argument, leading to a situation,” he said.
“I did not hit him, he fell...he fell automatically,” he further said, adding that he apologised to Singh and his family for the incident and would like to meet the Congress legislator in the hospital.
Meanwhile, Singh’s medical report said he had sustained injury to head and face, with a black eye and nasal blood clot. The report said he had tenderness on the left lower chest, PTI reported.
Ganesh also denied reports that claimed he had bit his gunman. According to a report in The Times of India, Ganesh allegedly bit a gunman on the cheek who tried to stop the alleged fight between the legislators. “There were also reports about [me] having bitten our gunman. He is physically present here. This is also a lie,” Ganesh said.
Singh’s wife has threatened to take legal action against Ganesh. “If it is true that Ganesh beat up my husband, my children and I will not keep quiet and will take legal action against him,” Laxmi Singh said, according to NDTV.
The Congress had moved its legislators to the Eagleton Resort on Saturday due to fears of horse-trading by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party, which rules the state with the Janata Dal (Secular), had made the decision after four of its 80 legislators did not attend a legislature party meeting on Friday.
Singh represents Vijayanagara in the Karnataka Assembly, and had moved from the BJP to the Congress before state elections last year. Ganesh represents the Kampi constituency.
Backward Classes Welfare Minster C Puttarangashetty, who was also at the resort, had said on Sunday that the two legislators had a heated argument even during a second legislature party meeting on Saturday. “They were at it in the meeting and it appeared to have carried on into the night,” he said. “I could hear raised voices near my room, but I cannot say for certain that there was physical violence.”
Notices to four MLAs who skipped legislature meeting
The Congress on Sunday issued notices to four of its MLAs demanding an explanation for their absence at the Legislature Party meeting on Friday. The notices were sent to Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav, and Mahesh Kumatahalli, PTI reported, quoting unidentified party officials.
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah also sought an explanation from Jarkiholi about media reports that he was joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. “Your conduct suggests that you will voluntarily quit from the membership of the Indian National Congress,” Siddaramaiah said. “You have got elected as a legislator on Congress symbol and cannot quit as party member under the Constitution.”