In an ugly turn to the ongoing power tussle in Karnataka, a Congress MLA was injured in an alleged brawl with a colleague at a resort even as the party issued notices to its four legislators who skipped a crucial CLP meeting.
While the Congress said its MLA Anand Singh was injured after he suffered a fall and there was no fighting between its lawmakers "as alleged by the BJP", its state unit suspended legislator J N Ganesh, who has been accused of assaulting Singh.
Karnataka is in the midst of political turmoil triggered by charges of horse-trading flung at each other by the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition and the Bharatiya Janata Party. Karnataka Assembly election result was announced on May 15. Ever since, the political drama has seen no end in the state. While the BJP had emerged as the single largest party by winning 104 MLAs out of the 222 seats, Congress bagged 78 seats and JD(S) 37 seats. The Congress and the JD(S) pre-empted the BJP by stitching a post-poll alliance ahead of Yeddyurappa staking claim to form the government. To save their MLAs from being "poached", the Congress and the JDS moved their MLAs to Eagleton resort in Bengaluru.
However, after the Supreme Court on May 18 ordered trial of strength the next day, the MLAs were brought back to the Bengaluru resort.
Though the Congress and the JDS won the trust vote, the fact that their MLAs were being confined to resorts has raised the spectre of their MLAs switching sides sooner than later.
Here's the story so far
1. BJP, Congress-JDS allege poaching of MLAs
Congress-JDS coalition and BJP traded allegations of making a renewed bid to poach MLAs last week. Amid media reports that six to eight Congress MLAs are ready to cross over to the BJP, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he has "sufficient numbers" to run a stable government.
As the Congress and JDS accused the BJP of luring away its MLAs by offering bribes, BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa rubbished reports that said his party was attempting 'Operation Lotus' to topple the state government. "It is not us, but they (JDS-Congress) have started horse trading. We will stay in Delhi one or two days because Kumaraswamy is trying his level best to contact our MLAs and horse-trading has started," Yeddyurappa said.
Deve Gowda claimed, "One person from JD(S) has been offered Rs 60 crore and a minister post by former Chief Minister and BJP leader Jagadish Shettar."
2. No 'Operation Lotus', claims Yeddyurappa
BJP Karnataka chief B S Yeddyurappa said no member of his party was involved in any operation to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.
"The BJP has nothing do with ruling coalition MLAs," the former Chief Minister said and accused the Congress and JD(S) of trying to shift the blame on his party to cover up their 'failures and inability' to keep their flock together.
"We will not try to destabilise this government for any reason, let them not have that fear. We will work as the opposition," Yeddyurappa.
3. Two Independent legislators withdraw support to the coalition
Two Independent legislators, R Shankar and H Nagesh, withdrew their support to the coalition. "The Independents have every right to withdraw their support, but we're confident they will be with us," Venugopal said after a meeting with state unit Congress leaders.
Kumaraswamy was unfazed. "I know my strength. We are in touch, why do you worry," he asked journalists.
4. Kumaraswamy asserts 'things are under control'
H D Kumaraswamy on January 16 said things were "under control" and there was no reason for worry. "It is not necessary for me to carry out any operation (poaching), actually there are sufficient numbers with me. Everything is under control... don't worry," Kumaraswamy said.
5. FIR against Congress MLA Ganesh
Singh, who has been hospitalised after the alleged brawl at Eagleton Resorts, registered a case against Ganesh. According to the FIR, besides attempt to murder, Ganesh has been charged with causing grievous injuries and giving threats. Singh alleged that on Saturday night Ganesh waylaid him when he was on way to his room after dinner.
According to the FIR, Singh said in his complaint that Ganesh was upset with him for not helping him financially during the assembly elections in May.
The argument had broken out after Ganesh alleged that Singh's nephew Sandeep had threatened him that he would finish him off politically.
Hurling invectives, Ganesh then allegedly assaulted him with a stick and a pot.
6. Congress plays down MLA assault issue
Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi played down the alleged incident accused the BJP of spreading such news about fighting between MLAs of the ruling party.
7. Congress, JD(S) lodge their MLAs in a resort, BJP MLAs shift to Gurgaon
Soon after the CLP meet, the Congress legislators were shifted to a resort on the city outskirts in a counter move to BJP's alleged toppling bid.
The BJP legislators, who were camping at a luxury hotel in Gurgaon, returned home on Saturday.
8. Congress issues notice to 4 MLAs who skipped CLP meeting
The Congress on Sunday issued notices to its four MLAs seeking an explanation from them for their absence at the Legislature Party meeting, asking why no action should be taken against them under the anti-defection law.
The notices were sent to Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was dropped as the minister in the recent cabinet rejig and is said to be extremely unhappy over it, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli.
Exposing fissures in the party, the four lawmakers had skipped the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet Friday, which was called as a show of strength against the BJP's alleged attempt to topple the party's coalition government with the JD(S) in the state.
The absence of the four lawmakers posed no imminent threat to the seven-month-old Congress-JD(S) government in the numbers game but suggested that all was not well within the Congress which is still wrestling with dissidence.
9. Denied ministerial berths, disgruntled Cong MLAs hold meetings in June
Upset over not securing berths in the expanded H D Kumaraswamy ministry, several Congress MLAs in Karnataka held separate meetings on June 7, 2018.
The Congress had dropped several key members of the previous Siddaramaiah ministry, including M B Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Ramalinga Reddy, R Roshan Baig, H K Patil, Tanvir Sait, Shamanur Sivashankarappaand Satish Jarkhiholi.