By Fakir Balaji
Bengaluru, July 15 : With beleaguered Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy readying for floor test to prove majority in the state Assembly on Thursday, ruling Congress and JD-S legislators are upset with their leaders for forcing them to stay in resorts since over a week, a party source said on Monday.
“We have to stay away from home and family members for another 3-4 days till the floor test is conducted for the trust vote. We are fed-up staying in a resort since a week. We’re not able to do anything worthwhile as we are under surveillance,” a Congress lawmaker told IANS on anonymity.
About 40 Congress MLAs are staying at Clarks Exotica Convention Resorts on the city’s northern outskirts and another 20 at Taj Vivanta hotel in the northern suburb to ensure they are not ‘approached’ by the Opposition BJP ahead of the trust vote.
Similarly, about 30 Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) MLAs have been moved to Golfshire Resort at Devenahalli on the city’s north since July 6 night.
“Staying at resorts on weekends or holidays for a couple of days with family or friends is worth the time and money. But it’s difficult to kill time for more than a week doing nothing but eating, sleeping and lazing at a resort. We are under watch round-the-clock and fear that our mobile calls are also monitored if not tapped,” said a JD-S legislator declining to give his name as he is not authorised to talk to the media or reveal his constituency.
After 13 rebel MLAs, including 10 of the Congress and 3 of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) resigned and flew to Mumbai on July 6, about 30 JD-S legislators were summoned to the city on July 7 and whisked away to the resort to prevent them from meeting outsiders, including middlemen from the opposition BJP, which is alleged to be wooing them to resign and join the rebels.
Of the 37 JD-S legislators, three — Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, his wife Anitha, an MLA from Ramangara Assembly seat, and PWD Minister H.D. Revanna from Holenarsipur in Hassan district — belong to party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda’s family. Kumaraswamy is Gowda’s third son and Revanna second.
Of the JD-S MLAs staying in the resort since July 6-7, eight are ministers and 10 are chairmen of the state-run boards and corporations, which have a cabinet rank and get commensurate perks.
Of the 78 Congress MLAs, excluding the Speaker, 13 have resigned, including Housing Minister M.T.B. Nagaraj. Barring senior rebel MLA Ramalinga Reddy and R. Roshan Baig, 11 are said to be in Mumbai with the 3 JD-S legislators.
Of the 20 Congress Ministers, 10 are at the Clarks resort and the other 10 at Taj Vivanta, keeping a watch on other legislators and taking care of their hospitality.
“With the BJP plotting to topple our government, we have been told to stay on at the resort or hotel for another couple of days, as saving the government is important in the interest of all, especially our party,” said a Congress MLA.
Not to be left out, the BJP has also kept about 100 of its 105 MLAs at Ramada resort at Yelahanka in the city’s northwest suburb since July 12 when the 10-day Monsoon session of the legislature began here.
“Unlike the ruling allies, we are keeping our MLAs together at a resort voluntarily for discussions and meetings as many of them come to the city from their constituencies across the state and all don’t have accommodation in the Legislature’s Home near the Assembly and council buildings,” BJP spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS.
(Fakir Balaji can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)