BENGALURU : In what is seen as a smart move against poaching of their MLAs by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have brought together their elected representatives before the Vidhan Soudha.
Though the dharna was planned as a protest against the B S Yedyurappa’s swearing in, the idea is to keep the MLAs in ‘public” views so that they cannot be approached by the BJP for poaching.
The dharna is also aimed at demonstrating the Congress-JD (S) alliance strength to form a stable government and demolish the BJP allegation that the two parties were illegally detaining their elected representatives.
The drama followed the fractured mandate in assembly elections with none of the three major players getting absolute majority to form a government. Though the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 104 seats, it was short of eight MLAs for a simple majority.
Responding swiftly to the development, the Congress with 78 MLAs and JD (S) with 37 MLAs stitched together a post-poll alliance even before the counting was over and staked claim for forming the government.
However, the governor shocked them by inviting Yedyurappa to form the government triggering allegations of massive horse trading. Janata Dal (S) chief Kumaraswamy said that his party MLAs had informed him that they were approached by BJP leaders offering millions of rupees and key positions in the cabinet.
Both the parties quickly moved their MLAs to resorts to ensure that they will not switch ideas. The MLAs were called back to Bangalore after the Supreme court refused to stay the swearing in by Yedyurappa.
The MLAs are now sitting on a dharna before Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Vidhan Soudha. Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal and Siddaramaiah are sitting with the MLAs.
Janata Dal (Secular) joined the protest later. JD (S) president H D Kumaraswamy and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda followed the MLAs. Kumaraswamy said that the idea behind the dharana was to safeguard the MLAs.
“The BJP has already planned how they'll buy our MLAs. People need to know of their attitude. They don’t have the required numbers to form a government. The governor has not taken the decision according to law. He has misused his office," Kumaraswamy told the reporters.
Earlier, there was anxiety in the Congress camp with two MLAs failing to turn up at Eagleton resort, where the MLAs were lodged. However, Mangalore MLA UT Khader dismissed these claims and said the two MLAs are on their way.
He told ANI that all MLAs were in contact with the senior leaders. The two MLAs who are not present here right now will come. I also just came back from Mangaluru," Khader told ANI.
Meanwhile, an hour after swearing in Yedyurappa announced a farm loan waiver to the tune of Rs.1 lakh as the first decision of his government. The decision was taken in the first cabinet meeting with him as the only member. Chief secretary and secretaries of major departments attended the cabinet meeting.
Image Credit : BloombergQuint