Rebel Karnataka MLAs stay put in Mumbai hotel, angry Congress protests

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Mumbai, July 8 (IANS) At least 10 rebel Karnataka legislators of Karnataka’s ruling Congress-JD-S combine are chilling out in a five-star hotel here even as angry Congressmen protested outside for the second day on Monday.

The Karnataka lawmakers arrived here on Saturday and have put up in the Sofitel Hotel in the upmarket Bandra Kurla Complex with a large posse of Mumbai Police personnel guarding them inside and outside the premises.

According to sources, they are likely to be joined by some more of their colleagues and most of them are expected to stay here till July 12, when the Karnataka Legislature’s monsoon session opens in Bengaluru.

Mumbai Congress along with Youth Congress leaders and activists, staged vociferous protests outside the hotel on the second day on Monday, condemning the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for “slaughtering democracy” in this manner.

Senior Congress leaders like Deputy Leader in Assembly Naseem Khan, former MP Eknath Gaikwad and others raised slogans, but they were prevented from coming near the hotel.

“We don’t know whey they have resigned, but they were brought here in a chartered aircraft by a senior BJP leader and ‘detained’ in the hotel. Despite the fact that they are Congress legislators, we are not allowed to meet them,” said Gaikwad.

He said that the lawmakers are incommunicado as their mobiles phones are not with them and the BJP government was attempting “to represss and pressurize these MLAs”.

Khan said that the party which came to power with the promise of protecting the cow, is now indulging in undemocratic ‘horse-trading’ as they did in Goa in the past, but the Congress will fight it.

Though BJP’s Maharashtra lawmaker Prasad Lad was seen going inside the hotel, he later claimed that it was pertaining to the ongoing BJP membership drive and not connected with the MLAs staying there.

–IANS

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