Addressing the media in Delhi, Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge said all the 118 MLAs of the coalition are intact and questioned why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has kept its MLAs in a resort in Haryana’s Gurugram, far away from Karnataka.
“I have spoken to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara as well as Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal. They all confirmed the stability of Karnataka government. All our 118 MLAs are intact,” said Kharge.
He claimed that with the aid of the Narendra Modi-led Centre government, the BJP has been using all the tricks including intimidating tactics but failed to destabilise the Karnataka government.
“From threatening our MLAs with IT and ED raids to luring with money, the BJP’s efforts to destabilise the Karnataka government have doomed and that is why they have now hidden their MLAs in a resort in Gurugram,” said Kharge.
Dismissing reports that some of the party MLAs are “missing”, Kharge said the BJP, as a desperate measure, is spreading rumours and false information to mislead the people.
“If the BJP is strong in Karnataka, as they claim, then why have they holed up their MLAs in Gurugram? They claim to believe in democracy, so why not free the MLAs?” said Kharge.
He said that it is the BJP which follows this practice of buying the MLAs. It is not happening in Karnataka for the first time. Whether it was Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand or Arunachal, the BJP always wants to form a government by hook or crook. This is what they want but they will not succeed in this in Karnataka.
Asked to comment on speculations of the Congress being in touch with certain BJP MLAs, Kharge replied: “We are not inviting anyone but if someone is willing to come then we cannot shut the door on them.”
On Tuesday, R Shankar, a legislator from Ranebennur Assembly segment in Haveri district, belonging to the regional Karnataka Pragnavantha Janata Party (KPJP), and H Nagesh, an Independent from Mulbagal constituency in Kolar district, withdrew their support to the coalition.
It’s all about the numbers. In the fifteenth Karnataka state Assembly, there are a total of 225 seats. BJP- 104 Congress- 80 JD(S)-37 KPJP, Independent and BSP- 1 each. Nominated candidate- 1. The magic number is 113. At present Congress JDS Combine got 5 numbers ahead of majority

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Chikkamagaluru, Siddaramaiah lashed out at the BJP, calling it “shameless”.

“They (BJP) don’t have any belief in democracy. People have given them a mandate in the election to sit in the opposition. People have not given them the verdict to govern. In the last six months, they have been trying to destabilise this government.”

“Yeddyurappa (BJP President) has grown old, but has no brain. He is around 76 years of age, but still he wants to become the chief minister through wrong means by offering crores of rupees to our MLAs. This is a threat to our democracy and BJP doesn’t believe in democracy and Constitution,” he alleged.

Accusing the BJP of keeping its MLAs confined to a hotel in Haryana, Siddaramaiah charged the party leaders with furnishing false information to media about forming the government.

Congress General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal, who has been camping in the city since Monday night and holding a series of meetings with party leaders, said that all the Congress MLA’s are “fine and intact.” He termed the media reports about a few party MLAs planning to resign as “baseless”.

“Nothing is going to happen. All the Congress MLAs are intact, we are in touch with all of them,” he said.

Asked about MLAs camping in Mumbai, Venugopal asked, “Are you sure that they are in Mumbai only?”

“That was day-before-yesterday, just verify now,” he said.

Venugopal asserted that the coalition government “will continue for next four-and-half years”

“We have nothing to worry, we have contact with every MLA, all will be okay. We are also calling CLP meeting on January 18,” he said and accused the BJP of making repeated attempts to destabilise the government by trying to poach MLAs.”

On Tuesday, the BJP’s strength increased to 106 when two MLAs joined its camp. If the BJP wants to form a government in Karnataka now, only 212 MLAs need to be present in the Assembly. For this to happen, at least 12 MLAs need to resign.

MLA’s can’t defect to the BJP due to the Anti-Defection Law. Otherwise, BJP should manage to bag 19 MLAs from JD(S) or 40 MLAs from the Congress, which is nearly impossible.