Karnataka turmoil: two trust votes in 10 days

The curious case of ‘missing’ MLA rocks House

Congress and JD(S) members protesting against the BJP in the Legislative Assembly.

Congress and JD(S) members protesting against the BJP in the Legislative Assembly.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

Congress accuses BJP of engineering defection, files plaint against Savadi for ‘abducting’ Shrimant Patil

The mysterious disappearance of Congress MLA for Kagawad Shrimant Balasaheb Patil from a resort here and his appearance in a Mumbai hospital on Thursday morning rocked the Legislative Assembly proceedings, with the Congress accusing the BJP of engineering the defection and terming it as a case of “kidnapping”.

Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar eventually directed Home Minister M.B. Patil to probe the matter and submit a report to him by Friday morning. While the Congress had issued a whip to all its legislators to be present during the session, Mr. Shrimant Patil’s disappearance further reduced the JD(S)–Congress coalition’s strength in the Assembly.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao said Mr. Shrimant Patil was healthy and was together with all Congress MLAs till late night on Wednesday. “Last night we received a message that he was missing from the resort where we were put up. Later, we realised the BJP had played a role in this. He was healthy, and today [on Thursday] we see he is ill,” he said.

He went to Chennai overnight and from there flew to Mumbai on Thursday morning. “Why would a man who is ill travel all night and then go to Mumbai to receive treatment? Maharashtra police are protecting the hospital. This clearly shows the BJP has a direct role in this. We request you to institute an investigation into the whole affair. This is a conspiracy to get the MLA abstain from the session. We request you to get the Home Ministry to probe the matter and ensure that the MLA comes back,” he said.

The Speaker, however, said this was not his jurisdiction. “CLP leader Siddaramaiah has written a letter alleging that the MLA has been kidnapped. That becomes a criminal offence which I cannot act on,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Speaker’s office received a letter in which Mr. Shrimant Patil said he has been admitted to a hospital after complaining of chest pain and that he cannot attend the entire session. He also tagged a report from Sanjeevani Hospital, which referred him to another hospital for monitoring in the ICU. Both these hospitals are in Mumbai. “The letter is not even on his letterhead. I do not know if this hospital exists. How can I accept this as a genuine letter?” Mr. Ramesh Kumar asked.

This issue caused two adjournments as the ruling party members raised slogans displaying pictures of Mr. Shrimant Patil at an airport allegedly with BJP leader Laxman Savadi.

Complaint

Alleging that Mr. Shrimant Patil has been abducted by Mr. Savadi, the KPCC filed a police complaint seeking necessary action and protection for the MLA. In the complaint, addressed to city Police Commissioner Alok Kumar, KPCC secretary A.N. Nataraj Gowda and spokesperson Manjunatha Adde said, “Mr. Savadi — on the prima facie material found — has either abducted or unlawfully restrained Mr. Shrimant Patil without his consent in order to defeat the trust vote and deprive his right to exercise his vote.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 10:57:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/the-curious-case-of-missing-mla-rocks-house/article28566680.ece

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