Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday, hours before presenting the state budget, attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the disruption of the Assembly by BJP leaders, claiming the ruling coalition has lost the majority.
He said the PM was systemically demolishing the country’s democracy by misleading the people.
“I request all the opposition parties to rise. They must expose the truth of the Prime Minister in the parliament,” he said.
“On one side Narendra Modi is preaching to the country and politicians, on the other side, he is encouraging his friends to demolish democracy through black money. I will expose this now, I have the proof to back my charge,” he added.
Kumaraswamy on Thursday gave away prime positions in the government to potential rebels in an effort to pacify them, amid din in the Assembly.
Not wishing to comment on ongoing political developments, Kumaraswamy said he would present the budget on Friday as per schedule.
“Let BJP protest, I can’t do anything…I will answer to it on Monday,” he said.
Playing hardball, disgruntled Congress MLAs skipped the assembly session for the second day Thursday, even as the BJP blocked proceedings of the House, claiming the ruling coalition has lost the majority.
Anxiety-gripped Congress has convened a legislature party (CLP) meeting Friday ahead of budget presentation and warned its MLAs that absence would invite action under the Anti-Defection Law.
Opposition BJP continued its protest against the Congress-JD(S) coalition government from the Well of the assembly for the second consecutive day, forcing the speaker to adjourn the House without transacting any business.
Though a couple of legislators had given prior intimation about the inability to attend, the absence of legislators allegedly in touch with the BJP to switch sides continued to be a cause of worry for the ruling coalition leaders.
Four MLAs — Ramesh Jarkiholi, Umesh G Jadhav, B Nagendra, Mahesh Kumathalli — who had skipped the January 18 CLP meeting and were issued a notice, continued to remain absent from the House on Thursday too.
The four MLAs were allegedly upset with the party for not being inducted into the Kumaraswamy cabinet.
Dealing a further blow to Congress reports emerged that at least 20 Congress MLAs too had gone missing just around the time when 104 BJP MLAs were huddled in a resort in Gurugram.
JD(S) and Congress MPs have accused the BJP of trying to “blackmail” their MLAs by offering them Rs 30-40 crore to resign in a bid to topple the coalition government and said they have “all proof” to support their allegation.
Addressing a press conference, the MPs alleged that in the last six months, the saffron party made several attempts to “force” the legislators of the JD(S) and the Congress to defect from their parties.
They demanded a probe into the alleged horse trading.
“Some legislators were kept in Mumbai under the pressure of goons and police. They were not allowed to go to their constituencies. They were blackmailed. They were forced to resign,” Congress MP D K Suresh told reporters.
He alleged that the BJP-ruled Maharashtra and central governments are pressuring some Karnataka MLAs and threatening to “finish” their political career if they did not support them.
D Kupendra Reddy of the JD(S) attacked the BJP for not allowing the coalition government to function.
“The BJP’s state unit thinks it’s the largest party. But there have been instances where NDA had run the government with the help of several parties. Don’t weaken the government, else the people will teach you,” he added.
BJP, with numbers in the assembly still not in their favour, has decided not to move a no-confidence motion against the government and is expected to continue with disruption questioning the legitimacy of the coalition government.
As the Assembly met for the day Thursday, slogan shouting BJP members trooped into the well of the House.
“Down down to the government that lost the majority. Go back go back-CM go back, step down step down-CM step down,” slogans reverberated in the House.
Hitting back, coalition ministers challenged the BJP to move a no-confidence motion against the government.
BJP is expected to continue its protest in the House on Friday too, when Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who holds the finance portfolio, will present his coalition government’s second budget, with an intention to disrupt it.
(With agency inputs)