Four Congress MLAs avoided Congress Legislature Party meeting in Benguluru this evening, amid alleged tempt by the BJP to poach its MLAs and destabilise the coalition government led by JD(S)’s HD Kumaraswamy.
The meeting was convened to show that all MLAs are intact with the party and BJP failed to break their unity. Those not present in the meeting are former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumathahalli.
While B Nagendra had reportedly sought to skip the meeting due to a court hearing he had to attend, Umesh Jadhav sought to be excused as he was unwell.
“I have come to the city for a court hearing. There is no operation (to poach Congress MLAs). I went to Mumbai for personal reasons as I have business there. I keep going there often,” Nagendra said, insisting that he had never been out of contact.
The rebel MLAs were reported to staying at a Mumbai hotel and in touch with the BJP. Apart from these legislators, MLA B Narayan Rao is arriving from Hyderabad, but has informed that his flight got delayed.
Earlier, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said that all the Congress MLAs will attend the meeting. Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa said it was the Grand Old Party’s responsibility to keep its flock together and his party had nothing to do with the “confusion” in the ruling coalition in the southern state. He also said the allegations that the BJP was trying to poach Congress MLAs were “far from the truth”.