Congress seeks disqualification of rebel Karnataka legislators

A defiant Congress on Tuesday sought the disqualification of nine of the 10 rebel party legislators who have submitted their resignations from the Karnataka Assembly.

“We have petitioned the Speaker (K.R. Ramesh Kumar) to disqualify 9 rebel legislators under the anti-defection law if they don’t withdraw their resignations,” Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

The party has, however, not sought disqualification of senior legislator Ramalinga Reddy, hoping he would withdraw his resignation letter soon.

Of the 13 rebels, including three of the ally Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), 12 resigned on July 6 while Congress MLA Anand Singh did on July 1.

“We urge the rebels to withdraw their resignations and be in the party…,” Siddaramaiah said after a two-hour long CLP meeting in the state secretariat here.

Admitting that all the rebels did not attend the CLP meeting despite informing them in advance, he alleged that they were “trapped” by the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), offering them money and minister posts for defecting.

Hoping better sense would prevail in the rebels to return to the fold, Siddaramaiah said the party would issue a whip to them on Thursday to attend the 10-day monsoon session of the Assembly from July 12 and be present when the budget for 2019-20 has to be passed.

Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah of conspiring with their party’s state leaders against the 13-month-old coalition government, Siddaramaiah said intoxicated with power and the huge mandate they got in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, they were indulging in anti-democratic ways and means to dislodge a duly elected state government.

“As the BJP failed 5 times over a year to overthrow our government and return to power, it will again fail for the sixth time, as majority of our legislators are loyal to the party and will not betray it,” he said.

The party has also petitioned the Speaker not to accept the resignations, as they were not voluntary and genuine in accordance with the anti-defect law.

The Speaker told reporters later that he would look into the Congress’ petitions on Thursday and decide on them after hearing the rebels whom he has summoned to meet on July 12, July 15 and July 21 in three batches along with the JD-S rebels.


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