Bengaluru, Jan 18:
Four dissidents skipped the Congress Legislature Party meeting here on Friday that was called as a show of strength in a counter to an alleged bid by the BJP to topple the coalition government in Karnataka.
The absence of four lawmakers posed no imminent threat to the seven-month old Congress-JDS government headed by HD Kumaraswamy but suggested that all was not well within the Congress which has been hit by dissidence.
In a notice issued to Congress MLAs ahead of the meeting, CLP leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had warned that absence of MLAs would be viewed “seriously” and action taken against them under the Anti-Defection Law.
As the meeting got underway, Congress sources said the absentee MLAs were: Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was dropped as minister in the recent Cabinet rejig and is said to be extremely unhappy over it, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli.
Jadhav has written to Siddaramaiah noting that a letter about the meeting has been affixed outside his room at the Legislators Home and that since he is unwell and not able to travel, he would not attend the meet.He requested that his absence may be “excused”. Nagendra had said on Thursday he may not be able to be present in the CLP meet because of a court case.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Siddaramaiah, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal and state leaders were present at the meet.
Ahead of the CLP meeting, senior Congress leaders in Karnataka asserted there was no threat to the coalition government while hitting out at the BJP for making “futile attempts” to destabilise it, saying the saffron party’s conspiracy had been “exposed”.
In the 224-member Assembly, BJP has 104 members, Congress 79, JDS 37, BSP, KPJP and Independent one each, besides Speaker. BSP is supporting the government.
Two Independents have announced withdrawal of their support to the government. Yeddyurappa claimed they are backing the BJP.
Bengaluru, Jan 18: