Karnataka political crisis | Congress seeks disqualification of rebel MLAs; 20 skip CLP meet

Congress leaders attending the legislature party meeting at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Congress leaders attending the legislature party meeting at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Tuesday.  

Party decides not to act against Ramalinga Reddy since he has not indulged in anti-party activities; all 12 legislators requested to withdraw their resignations

In a stern message to rebel legislators of the party, the Congress on Tuesday submitted a petition to Legislative Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar seeking disqualification of all those who have resigned from the membership to the Assembly, except seven-time MLA Ramalinga Reddy, under the anti-defection law.

With the Speaker announcing that only five of the 13 resignations submitted are in order and others have to appear before him again, the party seems to have got a reprieve.

Sources in the party said they have decided not to act against Mr. Reddy, four-time Minister and MLA representing BTM Layout in Bengaluru, since he has not indulged in anti-party activities.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party chaired by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has requested all 12 MLAs, including R. Shankar, who is attached to the party, to withdraw their resignations.

A total of 20 MLAs, including those who have resigned, abstained from the CLP meeting. While seven MLAs had obtained permission to skip the meeting, Mr. Reddy was marked “absent”. Anjali Nimbalkar, Khanapur MLA, did not obtain permission to skip the meeting.

The seven MLAs who obtained permission and skipped the meting are Kaneez Fatima (Kalaburagi North), E. Tukaram (Sandur), S. Ramappa (Harihar), S. Shivashankarappa (Davangere), T.D. Raje Gowda (Sringeri), K. Sudhakar (Chickballapur), and N. Nagaraju (MTB) (Hoskote).

It is being speculated that some of those who skipped the meeting might switch sides in the coming days.

Briefing the media on the decisions taken at the CLP meeting, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the MLAs have not resigned voluntarily. They have fallen to the trap laid by the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP has been offering money, power, and ministerial positions to MLAs who quit the Congress and resigned from the Assembly, he alleged. “This is the sixth time the BJP is making attempts to topple the constitutionally formed coalition government after the fractured mandate in the 2018 Assembly elections,” he said.

In the petition submitted to the Speaker, the party urged that the MLAs be disqualified under the anti-defection law. This would prohibit them from contesting elections for six years, he said. “I hope the Speaker will act according to the provisions of the Constitution,” he added.

The CLP discussed a strategy to be adopted during the extended budget session of the State legislature on Friday. The session has been called to pass the Finance Bill for the whole year.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 11:33:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/congress-seeks-disqualification-of-rebel-mlas-20-skip-clp-meet/article28336567.ece

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