Karnataka State industries minister and former chief minister Jagadish Shettar said on Tuesday that more MLAs from the Janata Dal (Secular) were set to quit the party, two months after three of its MLAs were disqualified for helping bring down the coalition government of which the regional outfit was a part.
Shettar was addressing party workers in Hubballi, when he made the statement, which comes two days before the State Assembly session that will begin on Thursday.
“The JD(S) is a broken house, and some more of its MLAs are set to leave, this is being said by their own leaders. This is the situation,” he said.
In his address to party workers Shettar also took aim at the Congress, saying there was no better fact to highlight that party’s weakness than its inability to name a person to the vacant Leader of the Opposition post.
“There are two-three factions in the Congress, they haven’t even been able to name a Leader of the Opposition,” he said. “They elicited opinion on it… earlier leaders used to come and hold a meeting and announce the decision… [but in Congress] they held the exercise for a day and went back and will announce it at a Congress Legislature Party meeting. This shows how the Congress has deteriorated,” Shettar added.
“It is in a situation that looks like a complete collapse, if they can’t even hold a meeting of 60 odd MLAs and decide on LoP, you must understand how weak it is,” Shettar told amused party workers.
The former chief minister also said the split between the Congress and JD(S) was set to help the saffron party in the byelections to 15 seats that fell vacant as a result of the disqualifications of 17 MLAs, who brought down the coalition government.
“The coalition is over, they’ve said they will contest the byelections separately. They are lashing out at each other, which had begun during the coalition government. Now, that they have come out it is like the floodgates have been opened and they are blaming each other,” he said.
However, Shettar cautioned workers against overconfidence. “The sins of the coalition government are being revealed from their own mouth… The opposition is divided, and we are united. We will win for sure but we also need to work hard,” he said.
The statement underscored the constant speculation that some MLAs were willing to quit the party after being frustrated by the complete control exerted by the family of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda. Several former ministers in the Kumaraswamy Cabinet have also hit out at the party, adding fuel to the speculation.
Speaking to HT, JD(S) state president HK Kumaraswamy said the statement was proof of continued attempts by the BJP to lure MLAs. “Nobody will shift to that party because they have seen the treatment meted out to the rebels. However, this statement is condemnable because it indicates that the BJP has not had its fill and is looking to poach some more of our MLAs,” he said.
Former deputy chief minister G Parameshwara of the Congress said it was none of Shettar’s business what the Congress would do. “There have been more aspirants this time for the LoP post so the high command has followed this procedure. What is Shettar’s business in this?”
“Let the BJP first set right its own house because there are clearly problems there, what with chief minister [BS] Yediyurappa not even being granted a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss flood relief,” he said.
Parameshwara also condemned Shettar’s statement on the JD(S) MLAs. “It shows clearly that they have not stopped their efforts to poach MLAs even after they came to power in such an unethical, unconstitutional manner,” he said.
Oct 08, 2019 19:50 IST