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Karnataka's resort politics turns violent; Congress MLA hospitalised

Last updated on: January 20, 2019 19:18 IST

In an ugly turn in the ongoing power game in Karnataka, a Congress MLA was injured in an alleged brawl with a colleague lawmaker at a resort even as the party issued notices to its four legislators who skipped a crucial Congress Legislature Party meeting amid Bharatiya Janata Party’s alleged poaching attempt.

Anand Singh was hospitalised after he and J N Ganesh, both from Ballari district, had a heated argument and came to blows late Saturday night at the resort where the party MLAs are herded together, Congress sources said Sunday.

 

In its notices to four MLAs on Sunday, the party sought to know why action should not be taken against them under the anti-defection law for not attending the Friday’s Congress Legislature Party meeting that was a show of strength against BJP’s alleged bid to dislodge the ruling coalition.

Singh has “a black eye and suffered blunt injuries,” according to sources at the private hospital where he is undergoing treatment. He had also complained of uneasiness in the chest but was now in the ward and “fine”, they added.

Ganesh is among the disgruntled Congress MLAs who was reportedly in touch with other dissidents in the party and on the BJP’s radar in its alleged toppling game.

Congress spokesperson and former Nizamabad MP Madhu Goud Yakshi said the scuffle was related to some business issue had nothing to do with politics.

“It was personal district related. They are all together in business. The scuffle has nothing to do with politics. They come from the same district and have business relations. It (the fight) is something related to that. It has nothing to do with politics,” he said.

The two MLAs had the dinner together in his presence and everything was cordial but after he left the fight broke out, Yakshi said.

Bidadi police under whose jurisdiction the Eagleton resort is located, said they have not received any complaint so far.

A posse of policemen have been deployed in front of the hospital with no visitor being allowed.

“We have not been allowed inside the hospital,” Raghunath, a Congress MLA, said.

WATCH: Fight between Anand Singh and JN Ganesh is fake news: D K Shivakumar

In a dig at the Congress, BJP tweeted, “It’s unfortunate that @KPCCPresident was unable to stop the fight in Eagleton resort. We hope Anand Singh is being treated & we pray for his speedy recovery. Unfortunately @dineshgrao can’t even blame BJP now, MLA’s were locked up under his watch at Eagleton. Whats ur excuse now?”

Senior minister D K Shivakumar however brushed aside reports that Singh had been assaulted and claimed all the Congress MLAs were united.

“Someone has misled. There was no fracas. There was no incident of smashing of bottle (on Singh’s head). It is all fake news. Everyone is together. The entire Congress is united,” he said.

State senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashok asked the Congress to produce Singh before the media and said police should initiate legal action in the case.

“Why is it that the police have not taken any action in this incident? I demand that the Congress should produce Singh before the media. I suspect that the Congress is making efforts to cover up the case,” he alleged.

As it struggled to keep its MLAs on leash, the Congress on Sunday issued notices to Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was dropped as minister in the recent cabinet rejig and is said to be miffed over it, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli, Congress sources said.

Exposing fissures in the party, the four lawmakers had skipped the CLP meet, held amid the political turmoil that broke out on Monday last with BJP MLAs ensconced in a luxury hotel in Gurugram.

The BJP MLAs flew back home on Saturday night after the party state unit president B S Yeddyurappa asked them to return and said the party would not destabilise the Kumaraswamy government.

The absence of four at the CLP meet posed no imminent threat to the seven-month old Congress-Janata Dal-Secular government in the numbers game but suggested that the crisis for it was far from over.

In the notice to Jarkiholi, CLP leader Siddaramaiah besides seeking response from him for not attending the MLAs’ meeting also asked him to provide an explanation about media reports that he was joining BJP and about his visit to Delhi and Mumbai to meet saffron party leaders.

Asking as to why he has not issued any statement so far rejecting the media reports, Siddaramaiah said “your conduct suggests that you will voluntarily quit from the membership of the Indian National Congress. You have got elected as legislator on Congress symbol and cannot quit as party member under the Constitution.”

Seventy six of the 80 Congress MLAs had attended the CLP meet.

Ahead of the meet, Siddaramaiah had issued notices to all the party MLAs warning that their absence would be viewed “seriously” and action initiated under the anti-defection law.

Top Congress sources had said Friday that at least eight party MLAs have “committed” themselves to BJP, an apprehension that caused jitters in the party and made it to shift the legislators to the resort.

As for the BJP camp, party MLC Lehar Singh said all 104 MLAs flew back to the state late Saturday night after Yeddyurappa asked them to return.

“Some of them have directly flown back to their constituencies and others including former deputy chief ministers R Ashoka and K S Eshwarappa returned to Bengaluru,” he said.

Eshwarappa said the Congress-JD-S coalition government in the state would fall due to internal bickering and his party would form the government.

The present political turbulence is because of the internal bickering in the Congress and their leaders have been needlessly levelling allegations against the BJP, he said on Saturday night.

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