After a dramatic over-night journey, Congress and JD(S) MLA-elects from Karnataka reached Hyderabad on Friday morning in a private bus. While some legislator elects were lodged at Park Hyatt in Sri Nagar Colony, others were later shifted to Taj Krishna in Banjara Hills, according to Telangana police officers. According to reports, other locations were also being considered including Novotel and Golkonda resorts in Gandipet.
While Park Hyatt is promoted by Congress leader and ex-MP Subbarami Reddy, Taj Krishna is owned by the GVK group. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and other senior leaders from the state are making arrangements for the visit.
Speaking to TNM, Madhapur DCP, A Venkateshwar Rao, confirmed that they had received information that more than 30 JD(S) MLAs were lodged at the Park Hyatt. Meanwhile, the front office at Taj Krishna confirmed that a few legislator elects were lodged at the hotel, but they did not divulge any further details.
Scenes outside Park Hyatt
"We have shifted 36 of our legislators in a bus to Hyderabad to prevent the Bharatiya Janata Party from poaching them to defect," Janata Dal-Secular spokesman Ramesh Babu told IANS.
Party leader D K Shivakumar told reporters in Hyderabad that the priority for the party was to keep its legislators safe.
"Our priority is to keep all our MLAs safe and intact. There is a lot of pressure on their families. So some of the legislators have been shifted to Hyderabad, while some have stayed back in Bengaluru," Shivakumar said.
The Congress leader, however, refused to specify how many legislators were shifted to Hyderabad in neighbouring Telangana.
On Thursday night, Congress leaders in Karnataka gave contradictory statements, with some saying that the MLA elects would be going to Kochi, while other claimed that they were off to Puducherry. But as TV channel crews followed the buses, it was evident by 1.00 am that all the MLAs from both parties were going to Hyderabad.
Media channels also played visuals of the bus stopping at Jadcherla on the Bengaluru-Hyderabad highway early on Friday, followed by visuals of the bus crossing a toll booth near Shadnagar. Congress and JD(S) leaders claimed that the decision to go by bus in the night was taken after the Civil Aviation ministry denied permission for special flights to take off.
However, Civil Aviation ministry Jayant Sinha denied the claim.
A Congress source told TNM earlier that none of the airlines or groups were willing to give chartered flights, fearing 'backlash'. The decision to move MLAs in the night came after a BJP leader's relative was caught at the Shangri-La hotel in Bengaluru where JD(S) leaders were staying.
The BJP currently has 104 elected members while the Congress-JD(S) alliance together have 116 MLA-elects.
Further details are awaited.