As its attempts to keep its flock together, the Congress on Sunday sent showcause notices to four of its MLAs who skipped the legislature party meeting on Friday even as a Congress MLA Anand Singh was hospitalised after he and JN Ganesh, both from Bellary district, had a heated argument and came to blows on late Saturday night at the resort where the party MLAs are herded together.
In its notices, the party sought to know why action should not be taken against them under the anti-defection law for not attending the Friday’s legislature party meeting that was a show of strength against BJP’s alleged bid to dislodge the ruling coalition.
The MLAs who skipped the meetings are: Ramesh Jarkiholi, who was dropped as Minister in the recent Cabinet rejig, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and Mahesh Kumatahalli, the Congress sources said.
Meanwhile, Anand was hospitalised after he was allegedly hit on the head with a bottle by JN Ganesh, another MLA from Kampli in Bellary district. The brawl took place at the resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru where they were housed fearing ‘poaching’ after the CLP meeting on Friday.
The Congress denied the reports but many leaders bee-lined to hospital to visit Anand, who is a mining baron from Bellary district. He was also arrested in the illegal mining related cases.
A Minister Zameer Ahammed Khan confirmed that there was a skirmish between three friends and Anand had a minor injury to his eye.
“I have visited Anand Singh at the hospital. He is fine and will be discharged soon. It was a friendly fight between three friends and he (Anand) had a minor injury.”
Congress strongman DK Shivakumar and his MP brother DK Suresh denied any such fight had taken place at the resort and said he (Anand) was hospitalised due to chest pain. DK Suresh visited Anand at the hospital.
The two reportedly had an argument over allegation that Ganesh was trying to defect to the BJP, reports said. However, senior Congress leaders denied the reports.
“I don’t know about the fight. Anand is admitted in hospital due to chest pain. There are no injuries or anything. His parents are here at the hospital. Other issues are just speculation,” Suresh said.
Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara also downplayed reports of adverse events at the resort. “When one of our colleagues isn’t well, if it’s true, naturally somebody would’ve gone to see him. I don’t know who the person is.”
Another senior Congress leader and chairman of the coordination committee Siddaramaiah said he heard about the brawl but yet to get full information about the incident. He said, “I have heard about the news but yet to confirm it. I am away from Bengaluru. I will get the full information and comment on it.”
In view of the embarrassing incident, Karnataka Congress in-charge Venugopal is rushing to Bengaluru to douse the fire.
The jittery Congress fearing poaching by the BJP has moved all its 74 MLAs to Eagleton Resort and the infighting has caused a major damage to the efforts of the party to keep its flock together.
The Opposition BJP was quick to react and wanted a criminal case filed against the MLA who has assaulted Anand.
The BJP tweeted, “What more proof do we need to tell all is not well within the Congress. Congress MLAs in Eagleton Resort indulged in physical fight & 1 MLA is admitted. How long will Congress be in denial mode & blame BJP for all their differences? When political party is lame, it loves to blame.”
Another tweet read, “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, MLAs were locked up under his watch at Eagleton. Whats your excuse now?”
Senior BJP leader and MLA R Ashok slammed the incident and called it shameful. He said, “Congress party is known for goondaism and it’s shameful to the entire polity.”
Another BJP leader and spokesperson S Prakash described the incident as Congress culture and said, “The incident has made political class bow down their heads in shame. They should explain to the people of the State. Police should file a case.”
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