National

Rebel Cong MLAs seek police protection in B’luru

Bengaluru/ NEW DELHI, Mar 10 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/10/2020 11:12:23 PM IST
As many as 19 Madhya Pradesh Congress rebel MLAs and MPs have sought police protection during their stay in the city, a party source said on Tuesday.
“We are the MLAs/MPs of Madhya Pradesh state. We have come to Karnataka state voluntarily on some important work, regarding which we require protection and escort from local police for our safe movement and safe stay in and around Bangalore,” said the lawmakers in a joint letter to Karnataka DG and Inspector General of Police Praveen Sood.
A police officer confirmed receiving the letter in English dated March 9. Some of the MLAs/MPs signed the joint letter in Hindi as well as in English.
The lawmakers who signed the letter are: Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Ranveer Jatau, Prabhu Narayan Chouhan, Raja Vardhan Singh, O.R.S. Bhadori, Kamlesh Jatau, Munnalal Goyal, Jasvant Jatau, Raghuraj, Harnam Singh, Suresh, Govindraj, Jaipal Singh, Imrathi Devi, Tulasi Silavat, Govind Singh Rajput, Pradyuman Singh Tomar and Prabhuram Chowdhary.
The rebels flew to Bengaluru in two batches by two chartered aircraft from New Delhi and Bhopal and landed at the state-run HAL airport in the city’s eastern suburb on Monday morning and late evening.
“All the 19 members, including two women, have been shifted to a resort on the city’s northern outskirts late on Monday with escort,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
Of the rebels, six ministers -- Imrathi Devi, Tulasi Silavat, Govind Singh Rajput, Mahendra Singh Sisodia, Pradyuman Singh Tomar and Prabhuram Chowdhary -- were sacked from the ministry by their Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday, soon after MP Congress strongman Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the party, plunging the Kamal Nath-led 15-month old government in Madhya Pradesh into a deep crisis. The lawmakers flown to Bengaluru are believed to be close to Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Meanwhile, a Karnataka Congress leader accused the BJP of engineering defections in the party’s Madhya Pradesh unit and enacting its “Operation Lotus” to dethrone the 15-month old Congress government in the central state.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are directly involved in destabilising our party and toppling our government in Madhya Pradesh, as they did in Karnataka last year,” state Congress leader Prakash Rathod told IANS here.
Accusing the BJP of doing a “Karnataka” in overthrowing a democratically-elected government in Bhopal, Rathod said they (Modi and Shah) would next target Rajasthan and Maharashtra governments where the Congress is in power.
“They (Modi and Shah) will do anything or go to any extent to remove our governments in the states where BJP was defeated in the last Assembly elections,” Rathod told IANS.
Another Congress source told IANS that the ruling BJP’s senior legislator and former minister Arvind Limbavalli was hosting the Madhya Pradesh Congress rebels at the behest of Shah at a luxury resort in the city’s northwest suburb. Refuting the charge, a state BJP official said that the Congress should set its house in order first before blaming others for the crisis or revolt in its Madhya Pradesh unit.
“The Congress should answer why its Madhya Pradesh leader Jyotiraditya Scindia resigned from the party after 18 years of association,” BJP’s state unit spokesman G. Madhusudhana asked.

 Is Rajasthan next on BJP’s agenda?

After the resignation of Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Madhya Pradesh government of the Congress is facing its worst crisis as 17 of party MLAs are still untraceable. But after the Madhya Pradesh fiasco, Rajasthan could be the next state where the government is surviving on a razor thin majority as Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot are not on good terms.
In the latest development, Sachin pilot has opposed the move to send Rajiv Arora, a diamond merchant, to the Rajya Sabha as Gehlot proposed his name to the Congress leadership, said a source.
Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot has advocated sending party members to the upper house as sending a businessman will send a wrong signal, said a leader.
Sachin Pilot has been critical on many issues including the death of children in Kota government hospital. Not only this, Pilot has differed with the Chief Minister on several other issues. The Congress is surviving with the support of rebel BSP MLAs who have joined the Congress and have been accepted by the Speaker.
The current strength of the assembly is 200, and the Congress has the support of 112 MLAs including 3 from the CPM, and one from the RLD, who are supporting the government. The BJP has 80 MLAs and support of 20 MLAs could change the game in BJP’s favour.
If BJP goes to Madhya Pradesh model, then the Rajasthan Government is also in danger, said a senior Congress leader.
 

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