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Karnataka crisis: To keep its flock together, desperate Congress once again takes recourse in ‘resort politics’

Amidst allegation by Congress that BJP is behind the political turmoil, which has engulfed the state of Karnataka, it has emerged that state unit of BJP is also shifting its MLA Ramada Hotel in Bengaluru.

The 13-month old Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka has been passing through a critical situation for a while now. In an attempt to keep its flock together, Congress has now decided to move its MLAs to Clarks Exotica Convention Resorts in Bengaluru. It has been reported that Congress MLAs will be moved to the resort after the assembly proceedings.

Amidst allegation by Congress that BJP is behind the political turmoil, which has engulfed the state of Karnataka, it has emerged that state unit of BJP is also shifting its MLA Ramada Hotel in Bengaluru.

Today, the Supreme Court (SC) heard the matter of rebel Karnataka MLAs and ordered the speaker to maintain the status quo regarding the resignation and disqualification of 10 rebel MLAs. The apex court postponed the hearing to July 16.

Chief Minister (CM) HD Kumaraswamy today declared he intends to seek a trust vote in the assembly in the current session. CM’s decision to seek a trust vote in the assembly came just an hour after the Supreme Court’s order.

The political crisis in Karnataka:

The ongoing political drama in Karnataka surfaced on July 6, 2019, when a total of 16 MLAs including 13 from Congress and 3 from JDS resigned from the Congress-JDS government. In addition to these MLAs, two independents MLAs, who were made ministers, also decided to withdraw support from the coalition government. However, On July 9, Karnataka state assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar rejected the resignations. Since then, five more MLAs have also resigned.

Anticipating that BJP would move a trust vote, Congress on Monday shifted its MLAs to the Prestige Golfshire in Devanahalli, about 40 km from capital Bengaluru. On July 9, the JD(S) MLAs who were huddled up at Prestige Golfshire Club were asked by CM Kumaraswamy to stay there for four more days in the wake of deepening political crisis.

‘Resort Politics’ has become routine now:

This sort of ‘resort politics’ has somehow become a routine with the Indian political parties. Congress that is especially sceptical over the loyalty of its MLAs, frequents this method of hiding them in resorts to ‘save’ them from being poached.

In Karnataka, ever since the 2018 polls threw up a fractured mandate, MLAs have regularly been packed off to various resorts. This has been done on occasions when they are required to vote together. They’re later brought back on the D-day.

In January 2019, ahead of a crucial CLP meeting, Congress had packed off 76 of its 80 lawmakers to the Eagleton resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru amidst the rumours of few Congress MLAs deciding to quit the party to support BJP in forming the state government. Congress had, back then, feared their ministers would be poached by BJP.

Similarly, ahead of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections, Gujarat Congress had decided to send its MLAs to Mount Abu in Rajasthan. Fearing cross-voting and ship jumping, the MLAs had been herded in a luxury bus and sent to the resort.

Congress had then denied the exercise being an act of fear. It had claimed it to be a 1-day ‘Shivir’ for “understanding the technicalities of voting in the Rajya Sabha.” The bus, however, did not reach Mount Abu. Instead, it was taken to another resort in Banaskantha. As per reports, 61 of the 71 Congress MLAs had been sent in the luxury bus to Banaskantha resort.

In 2017 too, Congress had sent its MLAs in Gujarat to Karnataka’s famous Eagleton resort; the golf resort in Bidadi, which is a favourite destination for Congress MLAs. That time, it was all done to apparently save Ahmed Patel’s Rajya Sabha seat.

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