Fearing the poaching of its newly elected members to the Legislative Assembly by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress decided to keep its flock together by moving all 79 (including Independents) to Eagleton Resort at Bidadi, on the outskirts of Bengaluru.
Anand Singh, MLA-elect from Vijayanagar, who recently shifted from BJP, was conspicuous by his absence. The members boarded two buses from the party office on Queens Road in Bengaluru. Along with Congress members, two Independents also boarded the bus, sources said.
Interestingly, out of 78 members, six did not attend Wednesday’s Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting. They are Ramesh Jarkiholi, Satish Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kamatalli, B. Nagedra, J.N. Ganesh, and Anand Singh. While others came to the resort, Mr. Singh did not turn up.
The CLP passed a resolution to support formation of the government headed by JD(S) Legislature Party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy.
Meanwhile, Congress leaders claimed that the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, has been poaching its party members to form the government through the back door. Senior leader D.K. Shivakumar said the party has commenced wooing Congress members. “MLAs are not panchayat members. We are united,” he said.
State Congress president G. Parameshwara said: “The BJP is trying the same old trick like last time — Operation Kamala. But none of our MLAs have gone. They are all intact.”
Alleging that BJP was trying to poach Congress members, party leader Ramalinga Reddy said: “They had done it in the past, they are trying to do it again. But they will not succeed… We’re all together and will stay together.”
Veteran party leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa said: “No elected member from the Lingayat/Veerashaiva community will switch sides. We are all united.”
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “They (BJP leaders) don’t believe in democracy. They have been breaking the Opposition since coming to power (in 2014) at the Centre.”