Karnataka crisis: One missing Congress MLA returns

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Bengaluru | Published: January 17, 2019 1:00:10 AM

A rebellion in the Karnataka Congress, which was seen as an attempt by the Opposition BJP to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka, appeared to be petering out with the ruling combine establishing contact with the six MLAs reported to have gone incommunicado Monday.

karnataka crisis, karnataka, congressCongress leaders said all of its 79 legislators were expected to attend the meeting called by CLP leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah.

A rebellion in the Karnataka Congress, which was seen as an attempt by the Opposition BJP to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka, appeared to be petering out with the ruling combine establishing contact with the six MLAs reported to have gone incommunicado Monday.

With one of the MLAs, Bhima Naik from Hagaribomanahalli in Bellary, returning to the party fold, the Congress called a meeting of the state legislature party Friday to discuss strategies for the Lok Sabha polls.
Congress leaders said all of its 79 legislators were expected to attend the meeting called by CLP leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah.

“We have spoken individually to all the MLAs who were reported to be missing. They are all with the Congress party. One MLA is with us in Bengaluru and two others are on their way,” said AICC general secretary and Karnataka in-charge K C Venugopal, who met Naik.

“We have explained the legal position regarding defections to the MLAs. The BJP misled some of the MLAs about the consequences of defecting,” he claimed.

Two other missing MLAs — B Nagendra from Bellary Rural and B N Ganesh from Kampli — were reported to be on their way back Wednesday evening.
Venugopal claimed the returning MLAs — many were disgruntled over being denied Cabinet berths — were not being offered any “immediate promise or assurance”.
“But something will be done at the appropriate time, probably after the Lok Sabha polls,’’ Congress sources said.

Bellary MLA Naik, however, said he has been offered a ministerial post before quickly adding that he was joking. “My phone did not have currency and it was switched off and that is why I was unreachable for two days. I was away and not in touch with other MLAs or anybody from the BJP,’’ Naik claimed.

Apart from the three MLAs from the Bellary region, two from Belagavi — Ramesh Jharkiholi and Mahesh Kamatahalli — and a MLA from the Kalaburagi region, Umesh Jadhav, were reported to be among the rebels. “These MLAs are also expected return,’’ sources said.

The rebellion came to the fore after senior Congress Minister D K Shivakumar stated Sunday that the BJP was attempting to lure away three Congress MLAs — Ramesh Jharkiholi, Anand Singh and B Nagendra — who are upset over not finding berths in the Cabinet. Singh, however, soon clarified that he was not defecting.

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