In a bid to end speculation about an attempt by the BJP to upstage the coalition government in Karnataka, Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar reassured reporters on Tuesday that there was no danger of MLAs being poached.
He was speaking alongside Vijayapura MLA Anand Singh who was reportedly one of 3 Congress MLAs who had gone to Mumbai to hold talks with BJP. Anand Singh was formerly with the BJP and joined the Congress a few months before the 2018 elections.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, DK Shivakumar said, "Let them (BJP) round up their MLAs but we won't be doing that. There is no question of keeping the MLAs together. Anand Singh's photo is being flashed on TV but Anand Singh is right here with me," he said.
He further added, "We have not rounded up Congress MLAs anywhere. We have the strength to bring them forward if needed. We have the numbers," he said. DK Shivkumar was referring to the fact that all 104 MLAs of the BJP are staying in a hotel in Gurgaon.
Anand Singh, who was reportedly one of the MLAs leading the rebellion within the Congress also spoke to the press. â€œThere has not been any talks with anybody. No BJP leader has contacted me. I am very much in the party only and have come to meet my leader (DKS)", he said. It had been reported earlier that B Nagendra, MLA of Ballari Rural and Ramesh Jarkiholi, MLA of Gokak and Anand Singh were the dissidents within the Congress party.
Though DK Shivakumar asked the media to stop reporting about the co-called dissidence, it was he who called a press meet on Sunday announcing to reporters that three Congress MLAs were camping in a Mumbai hotel and that the BJP was speaking to them in an attempt to poach them. He had accused the BJP of attempting Operation Kamala for the third time. The Congress held a meeting in Bengaluru on Sunday to discuss recent developments.
In May 2018, when BS Yeddyurappa had faced a no-confidence motion, Anand Singh went incommunicado and made a dramatic entry at the Vidhana Soudha. DK Shivakumar waited outside the Vidhana Soudha to welcome Anand Singh and took him inside for the vote.