Karnataka Congress sends 75 MLAs to resort after four skip CLP meet

The Congress in Karnataka decided on Friday to move 75 of its MLAs to a resort near here, ostensibly to safeguard them from possible poaching bids by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after four of its legislators failed to turn up at a meeting of its legislature party convened here today in a show of strength.
Two of the MLAs who did not attend the meeting informed the party's leadership of their reasons for not being present, but the other two did not provide any explanation for their absence, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told journalists.
The ruling Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition has 117 MLAs in the 224-member Assembly, including 80 of the Congress (with the Speaker) and 37 of the JD (S). The BJP has 104 MLAs. There are two independent MLAs and one of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the House. The two independent MLAs had some days ago withdrawn support to the government headed by JD (S) leader H D Kumaraswamy.
Even without the four MLAs who were absent, the Congress-JD (S) combine has a wafer-thin majority, but clearly the Congress leadership is not taking any chances and has decided to move all the remaining legislators to the Eagleton Resort near here.
The resort was in the news when, in 2017, the Congress had brought 44 of its MLAs from Gujarat ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections in that state.
The two MLAs who remained absent from the CLP meeting without giving any reasons are Ramesh Jharkiholi, an MLA from Gokak region of Belagavi, who has been reportedly unhappy after being dropped from the state Cabinet last month, and his close associate Mahesh Kumatahalli, who represents Athani, also in Belagavi.
Umesh  Jadhav, the MLA from Chincholi, sent a letter citing health reasons for his inability to attend the CLP meeting, while Bellary Rural MLA B Nagendra told the leadership that he had to attend a court hearing.
Siddaramaiah asserted that none of the Congress MLAs will leave the party but said the leadership had decided to keep all of them at the resort for a few days to fend off any poaching attempts by the BJP.
He and other party leaders also said they had to discuss with the MLAs the strategy for the coming Lok Sabha elections and other issues.
Party sources said show cause notices would be issued to Jharkiholi and Kumatahalli to provide an explanation for their absence at today's meeting. Following this, the party's central leadership would be informed for further action, if any, they said.
Meanwhile, all 104 BJP MLAs have been camping at a resort in Gurugram near Delhi for the past few days.

(Our News Desk can be contacted at

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