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‘Rahul Gandhi Started Resignation Trend’: Rajnath Singh Counters Congress’s Karnataka Poaching Charge With a Dig

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Allegations were exchanged in the lower house of Parliament while the 13-month old Congress-JD(S) government is on the brink of a collapse in Karnataka following the resignation of 14 MLAs.

New Delhi: Amid intense political drama unfolding in Karnataka, barbs were exchanged in Parliament with Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accusing BJP of engineering defections of party MLAs through a “pre-determined, well calculated design”.

Chowdhury equated the alleged defections that he claimed BJP was engineering from outside to theft. “Aap kehte hain ki aapke 303 MP jeet chuke hain lekin aapka pet nahi bhara hai. Aapka pet aur Kashmiri Gate baraabar ho gaye hain [You claim strength on basis of 303 MPs but your thirst for power hasn’t ended],” Chowdhury said to BJP leaders in Parliament.

This prompted defence minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh to say that the series of resignations was not initiated by his party but rather by Rahul Gandhi, who put down his papers as Congress president after which many senior leaders of his party followed suit.

“Rahul Gandhi ne hi tyaag patra dene ka silsila shuru kiya aur unhone swayam bhi kaha hai apne logon ko tyaag patra dene ke liye. Aur ek se ek diggaj neta tyaag patr dene ka kaam kar raha hai [Rahul Gandhi himself started this string of resignations from within his party by resigning first. He also told his own partymen to resign since when a lot of very senior Congress leaders have put down their papers],” Singh replied.

Allegations were exchanged in the lower house of Parliament while the 13-month old Congress-JD(S) government is on the brink of a collapse in Karnataka following the resignation of 14 MLAs. Another Congress MLA, Anand Singh, had submitted his resignation on July 1. If the resignations of the MLAs are accepted the ruling coalition’s tally will be reduced to 105, the same as that of the BJP. Both camps will require one MLA to reach the halfway mark of 106. As a damage-control exercise, Congress as well as JD(S) ministers have resigned so far in order to accommodate the disgruntled MLAs in the cabinet.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha was Chowdhury, Congress’ leader in the Lower House, who said: “We have been seeing in whichever state we are in power, whether it be Madhya Pradesh or Karnataka, BJP cannot stomach an opposition party being in power. This is a very serious concern. They took our party’s MLAs to Mumbai and have kept them there. Even the day when we first went to governor of Karnataka to stake majority, BJP had arranged for cars right outside his residence. They are destroying democracy in broad daylight.”

Singh replied that in the history of his party, the BJP had never tried to influence an MLA or MP from another party to join them. “We haven’t done this because the integrity of Parliamentary democracy is supreme for us and are fully committed to preserving it.”

Former chief minister of the state and senior Congress leader K Siddaramaiah has levelled charges at the BJP leadership, claiming that central agencies are being misused to topple government in the state. “A fractured verdict was given [when the state went to polls] BJP has 105 MLAs. 105 isn’t equal to 113 or 120. To discuss political developments in Karnataka, the ministers have voluntarily resigned to make way for others to be accommodated,” he told reporters on Monday.

Meanwhile, BJP state unit chief and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said the party was monitoring the developments and that ‘they were not sanyasis to rule out the possibility of forming the government’. Ruling out the possibility of any mid-term polls, he said, “It has been just 13 months after the assembly election. We will not allow elections to happen.”

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