Desperate times call for desperate measures! The Congress party which is going through a major crisis in Karnataka, today, found support in its ex-president, Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi was seen joining his fellow MPs in raising slogans on Tuesday as the Karnataka political crisis echoed in the Lok Sabha. He, however, did so while remaining seated and did not go in the Well of the House with the other protesting MPs.
Rahul had arrived in the lower house at noon just before the commencement of Zero Hour. At that time Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tried to raise the Karnataka issue and accused the BJP of “poaching” its MLAs in the state.
Speaker of the house, Om Birla, however, discouraged Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from raising the issue as the matter was already discussed in the House on Monday and Deputy Leader of Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh had responded to the charges.
Unsatisfied with the Speaker’s response, Chowdhury again tried to raise the issue. He then scribbled a few slogans on a piece of paper and gave it to his fellow MPs sitting behind him, who promptly raised them.
The members raised slogans like “Down with dictatorship” (Tanashahi band karo), “Stop the politics of poaching” (Shikar ki rajneeti band karo) and “We want justice”.
Rahul soon joined the bandwagon, while remaining seated in the front row of the Opposition benches. Though his pitch was not as high as the others, he repeated the last words of the slogans. Sonia Gandhi was also sitting next to him.
The Congress MPs, showing complete disrespect toward the house, entered the Well, as they continued with their sloganeering. The Speaker, Om Birla, warned the members against bringing posters.
“This is our right,” said one of the members, to which the Speaker retorted, “No, it is not your right. The country is watching you. This is your House. By bringing placards, don’t make it (Lok Sabha) the House of a civic body,” Birla lambasted.
The Congress has been blaming the BJP for the recent crisis its coalition government is facing in Karnataka.
In a desperate attempt to save the ship from sinking, Karnataka Congress MLA DK Shivakumar and JD(S) MLA Shivalinge Gowda have arrived in Mumbai today, to hold talks with the rebel Congress MLAs. The rebel MLAs flew to Mumbai last week after submitting their resignations.
Yesterday, the Karnataka state assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar rejected the resignations of 8 out of 13 rebel Congress MLAs because they were not in the ‘prescribed format’. The BJP MLAs who had gone to the Vidhan Soudha to meet the Speaker left without meeting him as he was ‘not there’. The speaker has asked for six days’ time to decide on resignations.
The JD(S) also accused the BJP of ‘buying’ MLAs in Karnataka for Rs 1,000 crore. Meanwhile, the BJP has demanded that Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy should resign. Today they will protest at the Gandhi statue in Vidhan Soudha in Karnataka.
On July 8, after an independent MLA and minister, H Nagesh quit the alliance, 21 Congress MLAs had also submitted their resignation to the party chief to placate the 14 rebel MLAs who withdrew their support to the Congress-JD(S) coalition on Saturday.
Interestingly, if the resignation of these 14 rebel leaders [11 from the Congress and three from the JD(S)] are accepted, the coalition government’s strength in the Assembly would be reduced to 102, besides the Speaker.
With the support of two independents, who on Monday resigned from the ministry, the BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the half-way mark is 113.