Bengaluru: Even as the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) are trying to keep their flock together to avert attempts to poach them, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is trying to cobble together a majority in the Karnataka assembly, may have scored its first success.
Anand Singh, who won the Vijaynagar seat against his BJP opponent, has not been in touch with the Congress since the post-election drama in Karnataka started unfolding. While a majority of the Congress MLA -elects are holed up in Eagleton Golf Resort at Bidadi on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Anand Singh, who promised to join his colleagues there on Wednesday, hasn’t turned up till now. Two Congress MLAs — Zameer Ahmed Khan and Nagendra– who had gone to Bengaluru airport to receive Anand Singh on Wednesday evening, returned without him.
Until January, Anand Singh, a fellow mining baron of the Ballari Reddy brothers who had gone to jail in the Belekere iron ore mining scam, was in the BJP, but he quit the party ahead of the elections and joined the Congress. Siddaramaiah defended Anand Singh, saying the charges against him were not as serious as those against the Reddy brothers and gave him a ticket from Vijaynagar, a constitutency he had won twice earlier.
Aafter winning the seat, Singh seems to have disappeared. Congress MP D K Suresh has alleged that Anand Singh is in the custody of BJP while JD(S) chief Kumaraswamy has claimed that MLAs are being threatened to support the BJP. HT’s attempts to reach the MLA-elect for a response proved futile.
BJP MP Shobha Karandlaje on Thursday alleged that Congress and JD(S) MLA-elects were being held forcibly against their will. Later she tweeted, “Many of the Congress and JD(S) MLAs won by fighting each other. We are in touch with all of them we are confident of getting support of minimum 120 (MLAs).”
The Congress MLA-elect from Maski, Pratapa Gowda Patil ,is also believed to be not at the resort where the party is hosting the other legislators. Pratapa Gowda barely scraped through against his BJP opponent by a mere 213 votes. He too was with the BJP before he joined the Congress. It is believed that his is the second scalp that the saffron party might have scored though the Congress attributed his absence to health issues.
As things unfold rapidly over the next few hours and days, it remains to be seen whether the Congress and JD(S) will be able to hold their flock together. JD(S) is moving its MLAs to a resort in Kerala for ‘safe-keeping.’