Congress leader DK Shivakumar was detained by the Mumbai Police on Wednesday while he was waiting to meet Karnataka’s rebel MLAs at the hotel in Powai locality in which they are staying, ANI reported. Shivakumar stationed himself outside the hotel after being stopped from entering earlier in the day. The police have imposed prohibitory orders in Powai from July 9 to July 12.
On Tuesday, the rebel MLAs had written to the Mumbai police commissioner, claiming that their lives were under threat from Shivakumar.
Shivakumar arrived in the city in the morning accompanied by Janata Dal (Secular) MLA Shivalinge Gowda in an effort to get the disgruntled legislators to withdraw their resignations. If they do not, the 13-month-old coalition government will collapse. All ministers of both parties have already vacated their Cabinet posts to accommodate the legislators in the government.
When Shivakumar reached Hotel Renaissance, the police escorted him away and the hotel cancelled his room booking due to “some emergency”, reported ANI.
The Congress leader said it was wrong to not allow him to enter the hotel and meet his “friends”. “If the Bharatiya Janata Party says they are not involved in Karnataka’s political crisis, why are they using police force against me?” he asked. The BJP is the ruling party in Maharashtra. “It’s not wrong to provide security but not allowing us to enter the hotel is wrong.”
However, Shivakumar stayed put outside the hotel, saying he would not leave “without meeting my friends”. “They [The rebel MLAs] will call me,” he added. “Their hearts will break. I am in touch already, hearts of both of us are beating.”
Outside the hotel, Shivakumar gave statements to the media – he said he loved the hotel and it should be proud to have a customer like him, that he and the rebels were “born together in politics, will die together in politics”, and that “we can’t go for divorce immediately, we have to negotiate”.
By the afternoon, the police detained him along with Mumbai Congress leader Milind Deora.
While he was being taken away, Shivakumar said the BJP was misusing its power. Mumbai Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, who had come to the hotel to get Shivakumar inside, said: “The issue is that two ministers from Karnataka have come to Maharashtra to meet their MLAs and they are made to sit on the road on the gutter.”
In New Delhi, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Shivakumar was obstructed because the BJP wanted to stop him from meeting the MLAs. “Is Shivakumar a don or a goon?” he asked reporters. “Police could have gone inside the hotel with him if he posed a threat. The MLAs are under captivity of the ruling party, they have been lured or intimidated.”