In a dramatic turn of events, senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar was stopped outside the gates of Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai on Wednesday where 10 of the rebel Karnataka lawmakers are staying.
The Mumbai police escorted Shivakumar away from the entrance of Renaissance – Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel.
The rebel MLAs have reportedly written to the police stating that they felt “threatened with the minister’s arrival”.
“We have heard CM and DK Shivakumar are going to storm the hotel, we feel threatened,” the letter read.
“We the following elected members of Legislative Assembly of the state of Karnataka are staying at Hotel Renaissance Powai in Mumbai. We have heard that Shri Kumaraswamy and DK Shivakumar and others are going to storm in the hotel premises, we feel threatened for the same. We do not want to meet Shivakumar, kind request to help us in this matter and do not allow them to enter the hotel premises (sic.),” the MLAs said in the letter.
It was signed by Shivram Hebbar, Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, Byrati Basavraj, ST Somshekar, Ramesh Jharkiholi, Gopalaiyya, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda and Mahesh Kumutali. Copies of the letter were sent to the local Zone X DCP, Saki Naka Police Station and the hotel management.
On the police force being deployed outside the hotel, Shivakumar told news agency ANI, “Let Mumbai Police or any other force be deployed. Let them do their duty. We’ve come to meet our friends. We were born together in politics, we will die together in politics. They are our party men. We have come to meet them”.
Supporters of JD(S) leader Narayan Gowda outside the Renaissance hotel were seen raising slogans of “Go back, go back” ahead of Shivakumar’s arrival.
After his arrival, he told the media that he has booked a room in the hotel. “My friends are staying here. There has been a small problem, we have to hold negotiations. We can’t go for a divorce immediately. There is no question of threatening, we love and respect each other.”
Security has been tightened with the Maharashtra State Reserve Police Force and Riot Control Police being deployed outside the hotel.
DK Shivakumar and JD(S) MLA Shivalinge Gowda arrived in Mumbai early on Wednesday morning by a special flight from Bengaluru.
The 13-month-old coalition government is trying to save its face desperately after a total of 16 MLAs resigned from the ruling alliance – 11 from Congress and three from JD (S) by Saturday and two more, including one Independent on Monday.
Karnataka Congress lawmaker Roshan Baig who was suspended for “anti-party activities”, resigned on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar dismissed eight out of 13 resignations as faulty, saying that they were not done in the correct format as per the guidelines of the Karnataka Assembly Act.
The Speaker further said the remaining five have been given two days time to meet him. He said he will meet two of the members on July 12 after the Assembly session and the remaining three after July 15.
The Congress has accused the BJP of trying to destabilise the state government.
Previously on Tuesday, Siddaramaiah alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were directly involved in destabilising the Karnataka coalition government.