Another Congress legislator quits in Karnataka

Thursday, October 21, 2010

BANGALORE - Congress legislator M. Narayanaswamy quit the Karnataka assembly Thursday, the second party legislator to do so in as many days, prompting the party’s state chief to accuse the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of playing “dirty politics”.

“I have not seen such a level of dirty politics being played anywhere in the country as in Karnataka by the ruling BJP,” state Congress president R.V. Deshpande said.

“They are luring our legislators with looted money from illegal mining and hollow promises of making them ministers,” he told reporters.

Narayanaswamy, elected from the Bangarpet in Kolar district in 2008, submitted his resignation to the speaker late Wednesday.

“His resignation has been accepted,” an official from the speaker’s office said Thursday.

Narayanaswamy’s resignation brings down the Congress strength in the 225-member assembly, that includes one nominated, to 71.

S.V. Ramachandra, another Congress legislator, had quit the assembly Wednesday.

M.C. Ashwath, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) lawmaker from Channapatna, too had resigned Friday, reducing the party’s strength to 26 from 27.

These resignations come in the midst of allegations by the two parties that the ruling BJP was ‘buying’ their lawmakers.

The BJP government, led by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, is struggling to survive following rebellion by 11 party legislators and five Independents.

Their revolt has reduced the strength of the ruling party in the house to 106.

While the 16 legislators have been disqualified and their appeal is pending in the Karnataka High Court, the Congress is claiming that its legislators are being offered Rs.50 crore (Rs.500 million) by the BJP to defect.

Yeddyurappa has rubbished the allegations and charged the Congress and the JD-S with holding the 11 BJP rebels hostages.

JD-S state president and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy Thursday claimed that nine more Congress lawmakers and many from JD-S were being targeted by BJP.

Following the revolt by 16 law makers, Yeddyurappa has won two trust votes in the assembly. The first BJP chief minister in south India thus also became the first Karnataka chief minister to go in for two trust votes in three days.

He won the first trust vote Oct 11 amid chaos, following which Governor H.R. Bhardwaj recommended placing the state under President’s Rule. He, however, changed his mind and gave Yeddyurappa one more chance to prove his majority Oct 14.

Yeddyurappa won that test 106 to 100 votes, but the outcome is subject to the Karnataka High Court decision on the validity of the lawmakers’ disqualification.

With the court hearing on, the Congress has housed its legislators in a hotel, while the JD-S has taken its flock, along with the 16 rebel lawmakers, to a resort on Bangalore’s outskirts.

The two parties say they have gone for such an arrangement to prevent the BJP from luring their legislators.

Filed under: Politics

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