The cajoling and pleading have clearly not worked and the Congress in Karnataka does not seem to be in the mood to be held to ransom anymore.
In a legislative party meeting chaired by Siddaramaiah on Tuesday, the Congress decided to move for disqualification of all it's dissenting MLAs.
Legislative party chief Siddaramaiah announced that it wasn't too late for the rebel MLAs to return and withdraw their resignations before the party petitions legislative assembly speaker Ramesh Kumar to disqualify them under the anti-defection law.
"Congress legislative party has decided to submit a petition before the speaker seeking disqualification of the members who are trying to resign. We believe it is an anti-party activity since they have colluded with BJP. Even now I request them to come back and withdraw their resignations," Siddaramaiah said.
With nothing to lose, the Congress is now going all out to try threats to bring it's MLAs back before the monsoon session of the KarnatAfter assembly begins.
"We will petition that Speaker that resignations made by MLAs are not voluntary and genuine. The Law states that any MLA can resign, but it should be voluntary in the absence of which it can attract action under the anti-defection law. Under the tenth schedule, Speaker is Supreme and it's his prerogative to look into the matter if it is genuine. We will petition requesting the Speaker to take legal action under the anti-defection law. Also, we are requesting that they should not only be disqualified but also not be allowed to contest elections for another 6 years," Siddaramaiah added.
20 legislators, including those who have already submitted their resignations, gave the legislative party meeting a miss.
The Congress maintained that seven including Khaneez Fatima, E Tukaram, S Ramappa, S Shivashankarappa, T D Rajegowda, K Sudhakar and MTB Nagaraj had given grounds for absence and obtained permission to skip the meeting but the rest had deliberately skipped the legislative party meeting.
The crucial meeting precedes the Assembly Session beginning July 12. According to sources, the meeting has been called to discuss strategies to save the 13-month old Congress-JDS government, which is faced with worst ever crisis after 13 MLAs put in their papers to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on June 6.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and other Congress leaders have claimed that they will overcome the current bout of crisis as well.
All the ministers from the two parties have resigned as well to give a free hand to Kumaraswamy to restructure his Council of Ministers and accommodate the dissident MLAs.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conspiring to topple Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka.
"The BJP doesn't want the Congress to be in power anywhere, be it in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan or Karnataka. They are conspiring to topple the government in Karnataka. This unholy attempt to topple the government in Karnataka and the cheap ways employed in doing so are harming democracy," Chowdhury told ANI.
"They are doing everything at their disposal to see the government falls. When you see the sequence of events, it is clear that the BJP is the one trying to bring down Karnataka government," Chowdhury added.
Sources on Monday said that BS Yeddyurappa's Personal Assistant (PA) Santosh escorted the dissident Congress MLAs from a private hotel on UB Road to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar's chamber in the Legislative Assembly.
Yeddyurappa is the president of the BJP's state unit. The party has clarified that he would be the chief minister if a new government is formed in the state.
Santosh was also seen with H Nagesh, the minister who has resigned from the Union Council of Ministers, at the airport.
Reacting to this, senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar said: "I got a call from Nagesh. I rushed to the airport but by that time the flight had already taken off. Our leaders will look into it."
On Monday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh while speaking in the Lok Sabha said that his party has "nothing" to do with the current political situation in Karnataka.
"Whatever is happening in Karnataka, our party has nothing to do with it. Our party is fully committed to the dignity of parliamentary democracy," said Singh in the Lower House of Parliament.
JDS rebel MLA H Vishwanath had said that 14 MLAs have jointly tendered their resignations to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and requested him to accept them.
Among the MLAs who resigned are Ramalinga Reddy, Anand Singh, Ramesh Jarkiholi, BC Patil, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda, S Hebbar, Mahesh Kumatalli, Gopalayya, and Pratap Gowda Patil. However, the Speaker is yet to accept the resignations.
Roshan Baig resigns
After days of his open war of words against the State Congress leadership, veteran Congressman and former minister Roshan Baig submitted his resignation to Speaker Ramesh Kumar on Tuesday.
"Today I have submitted my resignation from the Karnataka Assembly to the Speaker," Baig told reporters at Vidhana Soudha after coming out of the office of Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar.
The suspended Congress MLA made it clear he would not fly to Mumbai or Delhi, unlike the other disgruntled MLAs who have camped in a Mumbai hotel.
"I am not going to Mumbai or Delhi. Being the chairman of the State Hajj committee, I am going to the airport to oversee arrangements for the Hajj pilgrims," Baig said.
To a question as to whether his party colleagues spoke to him, Baig said, "They said 'hello' to me."
"His resignation is also against the party. I appeal to all those who have resigned to come back and not fall prey to BJP's designs," Siddaramaiah told reporters while staging a demonstration near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Bengaluru against the BJP's alleged attempts to destabilise the coalition government.
The Shivakumar MLAs who had been miffed over not being accommodated in the cabinet had attacked the state leadership including AICC general secretary and in-charge KC Venugopal, Siddaramaiah and Dinesh Gundu Rao for the coalition's abysmal performance in the Lok Sabha polls.
On Tuesday evening as dozens of congressmen attended the legislative party meeting, Baig submitted his resignation to the speaker accusing the Congress of insulting him.
Earlier last month, Baig was suspended from the party for abusive language against the leader.
Bengaluru civic body Councillors hold protest against BJP
Holding placards against the BJP, BBMP Councillors from the Congress staged a dharna appealing to their own leaders who have tendered resignations.
Many Congress Councillors including former Mayor Padmavathi and others appealed to their MLAs to return back to the party stating that people from their constituencies in the city are asking questions.
Meanwhile, Congress members tried to block the road at Mysuru bank circle for a few minutes but were stopped by police. This created commotion for some time.
(With Inputs from ENS and Agencies)