National

Karnataka, a favourite place to hold MLAs ‘in transit’

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on March 10, 2020 Published on March 10, 2020

Rebel congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh pose with their resignation letters in Bengaluru   -  Handout E Mail

Now, 19 Cong MLAs from Madhya Pradesh are staying here

Karnataka has become a sanctuary for housing poached MLAs. The national parties (both the BJP and the Congress) have mastered the art of ‘safe keeping’ their MLAs and for holding ‘MLAs poached’ from rival camps.

At the moment, a re-run of what happened with the Congress in 2017 and with the BJP in 2019 is happening in full glare.

This time around, 19 Congress MLAs, known to be supporters of the former Congress leader and union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, from Madhya Pradesh have been flown in to Bengaluru for ‘safe keeping’ and are being moved around every day.

It is learnt that the BJP, on the advice of party’s central leadership, moved these legislators to Karnataka, a State ruled by it, and they are being chaperoned reportedly by a senior BJP MLA and former State minister.

History

This scenario is not new to Karnataka. Recently, the BJP, through Operation Kamala, poached 17 MLAs and housed them in Mumbai, just days before the Congress-Janata Dal Secular government lost power last year.

Similarly, just days before the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat in 2017, the Congress moved its 44 MLAs from Gujarat to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

The party then had entrusted the job of safekeeping them to the Vokkaliga strongman DK Shivakumar.

Now, the Madhya Pradesh saga is a re-run for both national parties. This time it is sequestering MLAs just ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh scheduled later this month.

People in the know in the BJP confirmed the presence of Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh in Karnataka.

They allege that “a re-run of poaching of MLAs making them resign their Assembly membership and then make them contest by polls on a BJP ticket later is part of the overall plan to gain control in that State.”

Police protection

In a surprise development, the Congress MLAs housed in Bengaluru sought police protection. “We have come to Karnataka voluntarily for some important work regarding which we require protection for our safe movement and stay in and around Bengaluru,” the legislators wrote in a letter to the Karnataka Director-General of Police.

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Published on March 10, 2020
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