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Cong confident 1 MLA will withdraw resignation;notes other MLA not sent letter to Speaker

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: July 3, 2019  | 17:43 IST

Bengaluru, July 3 (PTI) Congress in Karnataka, battling a crisis within after two party MLAs resigned, Wednesday exuded confidence that one of them may withdraw it while noting the other had not yet sent his letter to the Speaker. Speaking to reporters, Congress Legislature Party Leader Siddaramaiah also reiterated his charge that the BJP was conspiring to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were also involved in it. He ruled out any 'reverse operation' from Congress to try and poach BJP MLAs like its 'Operation Lotus', a strategy adopted by the party in 2008 to shore up its numbers in the assembly by making opposition MLAs resign and seek re-election on the saffron party ticket. The announcement of resignations by Vijayanagara MLA Anand Singh and Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi on Monday had dealt a double blow to the 13-month old wobbly Congress-JD(S) coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy. "Only Anand Singh has given (resignation), we are talking to him. He may withdraw," Siddaramaaih said in Myusuru. Asked whether he was able to contact Singh, he said "no, we have contacted him through someone else and he has spoken to him." "He (Singh) has given reasons like JSW Steel land issue among others, but all those cannot be reasons (for resignation). Lets talk is what I have communicated to him... we will convince him," he said, adding that disgruntlement among MLAs may be due to various reasons, but Anand Singh did not resign because he was not made Minister. Singh, who sent in his resignation to the Speaker on Monday, had said he decided to resign over various demands, including creation of a separate Vijayangar district and cancellation of the nod for sale of 3,667 acres of land to JSW Steel in mine-rich Ballari district. However, he had appeared to have not shut the doors fully, saying he would "wait for answers" (from the government to his demands) when asked if he would withdraw the resignation. Maintaining that Ramesh Jarkiholi has not resigned, Siddaramaiah said his resignation has not reached the Speaker, but was only reported in the media. Speaker Ramesh Kumar himself has said he has not received it," Siddaramaiah noted. The Speaker too said only one legislator has sent in his resignation to him and he would act on it in accordance with rules, while he was not aware of the second MLA's resignation. Indicating his displeasure about Singh handing over a copy of his resignation to Governor Vajubhai R Vala, the Speaker said an MLA should have a sense about whom to submit the resignation, in what way it should be done and who has the responsibility to dispose it. The Speaker on Tuesday also had taken strong exception on sending resignations through fax. Jarkiholi had Monday told mediapersons that he was in Mumbai and had sent his resignation letter through fax and he would personally give it to the Speaker Tuesday. However, he did not turn up. Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah Wednesday reiterated his allegations that BJP was behind the political developments in the state as part of its plans to topple this government. "Amit Shah is doing it; Narendra Modi is also involved in it. All those in BJP are involved," he said Congress will not indulge in any reverse operation to lure BJP MLAs, he said in response to a question. "If the need arises, lets see.. but Im not interested in operation kamala (Lotus) or operation Congress. No one should do it in a democracy." Several Congress leaders, including state Minister R B Timmapur, had Tuesday warned of a reverse operation against BJP, drawing a sharp response from state unit party chief B S Yeddyurappa, who had challenged them to carry it out and said the saffron party would stand united. However, JD(S) Minister G T Devegowda, who had raised eyebrows with his statement absolving BJP leaders of their alleged involvement in toppling the government, Wednesday said he stands by his Tuesdays statement, giving a clean chit to Modi and Shah saying they were not involved in recent political developments in the state. Siddaramaiah had Tuesday hit back at Gowda's statement stating that the minister lacks correct information, and both Amith Shah and Prime Minister were involved in toppling the state government. "I still stand by what I have said...it is true that initially BJP started it (attempts to destabilise), but after the Modi government came in, it has stopped what I said," Gowda told reporters in Mysuru when asked about Siddaramaiah's comments. "I have said Kumaraswamy will be stable as Chief Minister of Karnataka and run the administration for four more years, Narendra Modi will run the administration for five years at the Centre ... people have given separate verdicts to country and for the state," he added. Congress fears more resignations by disgruntled MLAs from the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition will trigger a numbers game in the assembly. The coalition's strength in the 224-member assembly stands at 118 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and Independents-2), besides the Speaker. The BJP has 105 MLAs. PTI KSU APR RCJ

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