Bengaluru: Two more rebel MLAs from Karnataka joined their dissident colleagues, who are staying at a hotel in Mumbai, on Thursday, a source said. With this, the number of rebel legislators from the southern State put up at the Renaissance Hotel in Powai here went up to 14, including nine of the Congress, he added.
“The two MLAs arrived after midnight. We are expecting four more MLAs to come here soon,” the source said. Before the arrival of the two MLAs, 12 legislators — seven of the Congress, three of the JD(S) and two Independents — have been in the city since last Saturday after resigning from the Karnataka Assembly and withdrawing support to the coalition government in the southern State.
On Wednesday, senior Karnataka minister D K Shivakumar was prevented by police from entering the hotel when he insisted on meeting the rebel MLAs, in a desperate bid to pull the Congress-JD(S) government back from the brink of collapse. He was later detained, along with Congress leader Milind Deora and former Maharashtra minister Naseem Khan.
Shivakumar was sent back to Bengaluru on Wednesday evening. Police officials told Shivakumar that the rebel MLAs had written to the Mumbai police chief, claiming that they feared a threat to their lives due to his arrival in the city.
The police have imposed restrictive orders in the vicinity of the hotel.
The political crisis in Karnataka has also reached the Supreme Court with 10 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs moving a plea claiming that the Assembly speaker is deliberately not accepting their resignations.
The apex court on Thursday allowed the 10 rebel MLAs to meet the Karnataka Assembly speaker at 6 PM to convey their decision to resign to him. The ruling coalition in the southern State faces the threat of losing its majority if the resignations of the rebel MLAs are accepted.
The coalition’s total strength is 116 (Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP one), besides the Speaker.
The monsoon session of the Karnataka legislature is scheduled to commence from Friday.
In the meantime, 14 Karnataka rebel MLAs staying at a hotel in Mumbai may fly back to Bengaluru on Thursday afternoon to meet the Assembly Speaker, sources said.
The move comes after the Supreme Court allowed the rebel MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka to meet the Speaker as reported above.
“The rebel MLAs can now appear before the Speaker in Karnataka. They are planning to book a flight at 2 pm to Bengaluru so that they can meet the speaker and put forth their statement,” a source said. Asked if some more ruling coalition MLAs in Karnataka were likely to switch sides, he said, “They will join these legislators in Bengaluru itself. The future course of action will be decided after the MLAs meet the speaker,” he said.
Fourteen MLAs — including those of the Congress, the JD(S) and Independents — have been staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Powai after resigning from the Karnataka Assembly and withdrawing support to the coalition government.