Rebel BJP legislator denies kidnapping, says decision on support later

Saturday, October 9, 2010

PANAJI - One of the 13 rebel Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators of Karnataka Saturday denied the BJP’s claim that they had been kidnapped by the Congress and the Janata Dal-S (JD-S), saying they had walked out of the negotiations on their own.

Speaking to reporters at the Dabolim airport, Karwar legislator Anand Asnotikar said that they were not children and that a final call on whether to support the BJP government in Karnataka or not would be taken later.

“We are not children that someone can just drag us out of hotel. We are flying to Bangalore. A final decision on the support issue will be taken by tonight,” said Asnotikar, a former minister in the Yeddyurappa government.

Asnotikar is one of the rebels who were in Goa since Thursday, where they had been negotiating both with the Congress and the BJP emissaries for three days, before suddenly leaving the hotel premises in a sudden rush Saturday afternoon.

A BJP leaders claimed that the police machinery had been misused by the Congress and the JD-S leaders to kidnap the legislators from the Taj Exotica resort in the coastal village of Benaulim, 40 km from here.

“Talks were going well till afternoon. Suddenly police officers came with several goons and physically lifted our MLAs. The Goa police were literally protecting the goons who were manhandling the MLAs,” Ramesh Katti, a BJP MP from Karnataka, told reporters here.

He accused Jamir Ahmad, an aide of JD-S working president and former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, of orchestrating the kidnapping.

Accusing the Congress and JD-S of indulging in horse-trading and offering as much as Rs.25 crore to each dissenting legislator to switch sides during the trust vote, Katti alleged the ministers of the Congress-led Goa government were intimidating the legislators.

“Home Minister Ravi Naik and Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao had been using the state government machinery to intimidate the legislators,” Katti said.

Earlier in the day, BJP leaders claimed that most major issues raised by the dissenting Karnataka legislators had been resolved. North Goa BJP MP Shripad Naik said that things were optimistic for the party.

Filed under: Politics

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