Karnataka crisis: Protests and leaders at Bandra hotel where rebel MLAs put up

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Mumbai | Updated: July 8, 2019 12:48:27 PM

Senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan accused the BJP of attempting to topple the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka and misusing official machinery in party-ruled states for “murdering” democracy.

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A steady stream of Congress and BJP leaders, and protests by Congress workers, ensured that the spotlight remained throughout Sunday on the Sofitel Hotel in Bandra where the rebel legislators from Karnataka have been put up.

On Saturday, the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka slipped to the brink of collapse after 10 Congress and three JD(S) MLAs submitted their resignations to the Speaker and met Governor Vajubhai Vala. Later, eight of the MLAs left for Mumbai on a chartered flight, saying that they would return Tuesday to meet the Speaker.

In Mumbai, most of the rebel legislators stayed inside the hotel premises. Among the others spotted at the hotel were Maharashtra BJP MLA Prasad Lad and the party’s city youth wing president Mohit Bhartiya.
Lad, however, claimed that he “had gone to the hotel for a hair cut”. “I have been busy with the party’s membership drive,” Lad told The Indian Express.

The rebel MLAs “will be here till the Congress and JD(S) take a call on the Karnataka government”, said a BJP leader, who claimed that 14 legislators — 10 Congress and 4 JD(S) — are currently in the hotel.

Earlier, speaking to reporters after visiting the hotel, Karnataka Congress leader Mahendra Singhi said: “I met Congress legislator Ramesh Jarkiholi. It (the political crisis) is a family matter and we will resolve it. The crisis is like the rainy season that comes and goes.”

Later, some Congress workers staged a protest against the BJP outside the hotel. In the evening, multiple groups of Congress workers and leaders, including former MP Eknath Gaikwad and legislators Bhai Jagtap and Naseem Khan, joined the protest.

Police subsequently detained the Congress workers. “There was pressure on the legislators to resign. A lot of money was involved in it. Had they given the resignations on their own, they wouldn’t have to come to Mumbai,” claimed Gaikwad.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan accused the BJP of attempting to topple the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka and misusing official machinery in party-ruled states for “murdering” democracy.

“Congress MLAs have been brought to Mumbai in private jets and detained in a five-star hotel by the BJP. The country’s richest political party is misusing its power and using its money power to pressurise these MLAs,” Chavan tweeted.

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