3 Congress MLAs `lost and found’ in Karnataka

After the Karnataka Congress-JD(S) coalition was given a big shock with the threatening given by Jarkiholi brothers – minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and his brother Satish, that they are about to `jump’ to Mumbai with about 20 MLAs convey deserting their parent Congress party, was subsidised with the interveniton of senior party leaders, it was again rocked with the news that three other MLAs were deserted.

Last morning, their legislators are set to desert them to help the BJP topple chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s four-month-old government and said to be heading to Chennai. That the three – MTB Nagaraj, D Sudhakar and H Nagesh who had contested as an independent but subsequently joined the Congress – could not be reached for comments fuelled the speculation that they were BJP-bound. However, by evening former chief minister Siddaramaiah was able to locate them and pacify them.

The Congress again alleged that some BJP leaders, including state president BS Yeddyurappa, have been in touch with legislators of the ruling coalition, promising monetary incentives to make them switch over, allegations that have been denied by the BJP.  Pradesh Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged that BJP offered Rs 5 crore to their legislator CS Shivalli. Earlier this week, the Congress had even filed a complaint with the income tax department alleging that the BJP was collecting black money in order to indulge in horse-trading.

The Congress alleged the BJP has approached its leaders in an attempt to dislodge the Congress-JD(S) coalition. However, a senior BJP leader claimed that it was the Congress leaders who had reached out to the party. “We followed up on those conversations, it wasn’t the other way around,” the leader said. Congress leaders admit privately that the threat of desertion is being used by some members as leverage with an eye on a cabinet expansion that chief minister Kumaraswamy is likely to effect soon.

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