BENGALURU: All of Sunday, an utterly embarrassed and ill-prepared Congress scrambled to answer questions on why one of its legislators, Anand Singh, had been admitted to a private hospital. The Vijayanagara MLA, who had been herded along with other Congress legislators into Eagleton resort on the city’s outskirts, was hospitalised with injuries to the face, neck and shoulder. Party sources suggested that Anand Singh was assaulted by two of his colleagues — Kampli MLA J N Ganesh and Hagaribommanahallli MLA Bheema Naik — in a drunken brawl.
Despite its own leaders like Siddaramaiah and Food and Civil Supplies minister Zameer Ahmed Khan acknowledging that the trio was involved in a scuffle at the resort, other leaders of the party gave different excuses ranging from “chest pain” to “accidental fall” as the reason for Singh’s hospitalisation.
As if it was not embarrassing enough that some of its legislators, who are being directly monitored by AICC General Secretary in charge of Karnataka, K C Venugopal, at a private resort, Congress leaders issuing varying statements throughout the day on what had transpired put the Congress in a spot.
“There was no fight. Anand Singh had stepped out to attend a wedding,” said Water Resources minister D K Shivakumar when asked about the alleged scuffle. Within hours, his brother and Congress MP D K Suresh sang a different tune. “There was no fight as being claimed by the media. Anand Singh complained of chest pain and was brought to the hospital. He underwent multiple tests and was sleeping when I visited,” Suresh said.
From friendly fight to accident, Cong leaders dish out differing explanations
Congress and BJP leaders alike made a beeline to the hospital and each had their own version of what had happened to Anand Singh. “He slipped and fell down. He sustained injuries in the fall,” claimed KPCC Communications chairman and MLC Rizwan Arshad. His statements came hours after Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah as well as Minister Zameer Ahmed acknowledged that the lawmakers had brawled. “Ganesh, Naik and Singh are all friends. It is common for friends to fight sometimes. This was just a friendly fight. I know the reality,” claimed Zameer Ahmed. “I was told that there was some fight that took place there,” Siddaramaiah being prompted by his aides to cite media reports as the source of his information.
Siddaramaiah gives MLAs a dressing down
Even as confusion over why Anand Singh landed in a hospital prevailed, CLP leader Siddaramaiah called for a meeting with all legislators at the resort on Sunday evening. The former CM, along with KC Venugopal, took Ganesh and Naik to task for their reckless behaviour, sources said. “You are an embarrassment to the party as well as the people who voted for you. How could you behave this foolishly and put the party in a spot?” Siddaramaiah is said to have told the duo. Sources suggested that the duo apologised for their behaviour but no action is likely to be taken by the party. With Anand Singh not wanting to file a complaint against his party colleagues and Congress unwilling to acknowledge the incident publicly, the incident is likely to be quietly brushed under the carpet.
. @DKShivakumar says Anand Singh left to relatives wedding@DKSureshINC says Anand Singh had only chest pain@ArshadRizwan says Anand Singh slipped & got injuries @siddaramaiah & @dineshgrao has not yet visited their hospitalised MLA— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) January 20, 2019
& they say all is well in Congress.
Legislators likely to be back today
At the end of the Congress Legislature Party meeting on Sunday evening, all the MLAs were asked to prepare to leave the resort. While K C Venugopal is expected to have a one-on-one interaction with all MLAs, Congress is expected to end its resort stay on Monday. The JD(S) has maintained a stoic silence over the matter of Anand Singh’s health, but Congress insiders continue to blame BJP for the fiasco.
BJP takes a dig
The BJP mocked Congress all day. “It’s unfortunate that @KPCCPresident was unable to stop the fight in Eagleton resort. We hope Anand Singh is being treated & we pray for his speedy recovery Unfortunately @dineshgrao can’t even blame BJP now, MLA’s were locked up under his watch at Eagleton Whats ur excuse now?(sic)”, the State BJP’s handle tweeted.