Karnataka: ‘BJP arranged special flights for MLAs who resigned’, says Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge
Kharge alleged the BJP was trying to sabotage state governments ruled by Opposition parties.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday claimed the Bharatiya Janata Party arranged a special flight to Mumbai for 10 of the 11 MLAs of the ruling coalition’s MLAs who resigned the day before, NDTV reported.
Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar confirmed on Saturday that eight Congress MLAs and three Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs had submitted their resignations to his office. If he accepts their resignations, the coalition would be left with the support of 107 members – just enough to maintain a majority.
Kharge claimed the BJP was engineering defections to overthrow governments in states that are not ruled by the saffron party. “The BJP is trying to sabotage non-BJP governments,” NDTV quoted him as saying. “They want to weaken regional parties. This is not right. It hasn’t been a year since the Karnataka election. I’m scared, where’s democracy in this country? BJP arranged special flights for them [MLAs].”
When asked if he could be the next chief minister, Kharge said he wanted the alliance government to continue. “We want this [coalition government] to go on smoothly,” ANI quoted him as saying. “These are all flimsy information being fed to the press just to divide us.”
On senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy’s resignation as MLA, Kharge said Reddy had been holding the Congress fort in Bengaluru. “Let us see what are his grievances and what we can do,” he said, according to ANI.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he had made contact with at least six MLAs. “Everybody is loyal to the party,” he said, according to ANI. “It is not a question of a person being loyal to me. Everybody is expected to be loyal to the party.”
However, an unidentified senior Congress leader called Siddaramaiah a “thief”, ANI reported. “There are thieves inside the house,” he told ANI. “One man [Siddaramaiah] is doing all this for his prestige. He is playing all these games. MLAs who are there in Mumbai are in constant touch with Siddaramaiah but I don’t know what my party high command is doing.”
The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have held a series of meetings since Sunday morning to resolve the crisis, NDTV reported. The leader in charge of Congress in Karntaka, KC Venuopal, met state party leaders at a private hotel in Bengaluru. Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda also held a meeting with his party leaders. The meeting was attended by Congress leader DK Shivakumar.
“Our leaders are talking to our legislators who are unhappy,” said Congress leader HK Patil. “Everything will be okay. BJP is only creating this problem. But government will be stable. Government is safe and it will remain safe. All our legislators will come back.”
MLAs made own arrangements to go to Mumbai for safety: BS Yeddyurappa
Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said his party was not involved in the resignations. He said the MLAs who resigned on Saturday may have gone to Mumbai for their safety and the BJP was not responsible for that, reported News9.
Yeddyurappa denied that BJP legislators or leaders were present in Mumbai along with the MLAs who resigned. “According to me they made their own arrangements and went to Bombay for their own safety,” he said.
“Let’s wait and watch,” Yeddyurappa said when asked if the BJP would be ready to form the government. “Are we hermits? After the resignation process is over and the speaker takes his decision, leaders of our party will discuss and decide.”
The Karnataka BJP chief said in Tumkur that the state leadership would speak to the national leadership and then take a call, PTI reported. “From July 12, Assembly session has been convened, the chief minister is abroad,” he added. “According to me the coalition government has lost majority and it is the opinion expressed in all leading papers.”
Union minister and BJP leader Pralhad Joshi said the Congress was trying to push away Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. “It is Congress party’s game plan to out HD Deve Gowda and his family,” Joshi said, according to ANI. “Siddaramaiah is responsible, also some senior Congress leaders are involved in it.”
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan called Congress a “sinking ship”, whose “captain” Rahul Gandhi had deserted it, PTI reported. “When the captain will flee, the Congress MLAs will not be behind in fleeing,” Chouhan said in New Delhi.
“It was due to Nehru that two-third of Kashmir is under Pakistan occupation, Indira [Gandhi] strangulated democracy, Rajiv Gandhi in Shah Bano case deprived Muslim women their rights, and this mother-son [Sonia-Rahul] duo were involved in corruption when Manmohan Singh was prime minister,” Chouhan alleged.