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Resort politics in place as Karnataka parties shift MLAs to hotels to prevent ‘poaching’

The shifting of the MLAs came after the 11-day monsoon session of the Karnataka legislature began on Friday where CM Kumaraswamy sought a floor test.

SNS | New Delhi |

With the Karnataka coalition government struggling to survive, resort politics is back as the ruling Congress-JD(S) have moved their lawmakers to another location in a bid to guard against their legislators being poached.

The Congress, whose 13 of the 79 MLAs have already submitted their resignations from the Assembly, has moved about 50 MLAs to the Clarks Exotica Convention Resorts on the outskirts of the city.

Only the senior leaders like Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara and the ministers are staying at their official bungalows in the city.

“As the BJP has already poached about a dozen legislators to destabilise our coalition government for its ‘Operation Kamala’, we have moved about 50 of our party members to Clarks Exotica Convention Resorts on the outskirts of the city,” Congress spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS.

“We have shifted them to the resort from the Legislature Home to prevent the BJP leaders or their friends from meeting them and whisking them away as it happened in the case of a couple of our and JD-S members,” asserted Gowda.

The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), whose three MLAs have resigned, has also been keeping about 30 of its legislators at the Golfshire Resort near Nandi Hills on the city’s northern outskirts since July 7.

“Our legislators have been staying at a private resort outside the city to ensure the BJP does not poach them as it did with three of them. As most of their constituencies are far from Bengaluru, they will be put up there till the 10-day session ends on February 26. They will be brought to the Vidhan Souda to attend the session,” JD(S) leader Ramesh Babu told IANS.

The opposition BJP too did not stay behind in the political game as it also shifted about 80 of its 105 lawmakers to the Ramada resort at Yelahanka in the city’s northwest suburb.

“We have been forced to shift our legislators to a resort to ensure that they stay put at one place for consultations or discussions and to prevent them from meeting or speaking to any of the Congress-JD-S leaders who have been trying to wean away some of our members to make up the numbers after 16 of their MLAs resigned and their shaky-year-old government got reduced to minority,” BJP spokesman G Madhusudana told IANS.

The shifting of the MLAs came after the 11-day monsoon session of the Karnataka legislature began on Friday.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday sought time from Speaker to prove majority in the Assembly.

“After all these developments, I am seeking your permission and time to prove the majority in this session,” he said in Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

“I am ready for everything and am not here to cling to power… Have decided to seek trust vote, please fix time for it,” he said.

Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar Friday said a slot would be allotted whenever the Karnataka Chief Minister opted for it.

“The chief minister has spoken his mind that he would not cling to power amid the confusion. He said he will seek the trust of the House,” the Speaker told reporters.

“Whenever he tells me that he wants to move the trust motion, the very next day I will put it in the business of the day,” he added.

Meanwhile, 18 lawmakers — 13 Congress, 3 JD(S) and two independent MLAs — have submitted their resignations to Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar.

The resignations have not been accepted yet, but if they are accepted, the ruling coalition will slip below the half-way mark and rival BJP will have a majority.

Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court ordered status quo on the resignations by rebel Karnataka lawmakers till the matter will be heard by the court on Tuesday and also barred the Speaker from taking any decision on either resignation of the lawmakers or their disqualification till then.

Read | No decision on rebel MLAs’ resignations till July 16 hearing, SC tells Karnataka Speaker

(With inputs from IANS)