Karnataka MLA Nagaraj back in Congress fold, promises to convince Sudhakar to support coalition

In a late night development, MLA MTB Nagaraj announced that he was withdrawing his resignation and would remain with the Congress party. Nagaraj’s decision to stay a Congressman came amid intense efforts by the party to placate and woo its rebel legislators in the state. Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, too, had persuaded MTB Nagaraj to withdraw his resignation.

Addressing the media, MTB Nagaraj said that he has decided to stay in Congress as the senior leaders kept persuading to stay in the party. “I and Sudhakar had given resignation from MLA’s post. All the leaders are asking me to stay in Congress since morning. I have decided to stay in the party,” he said.

Hoskote MLA MTB Nagaraj even promised the Congress leaders that he will try to bring back Chikballapur MLA Sudhakar Rao and make him support the coalition government in the state. Sources said even Congress’s Ramalinga Reddy is likely to take a decision on his resignation on Sunday.

Siddaramaiah also said that he was confident of getting most MLAs on board in the floor test of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government.

Earlier in the day, Nagaraj had hinted about his return to Congress and credited colleague DK Shivakumar for helping him make the decision. “Situation was such that we submitted our resignations, but now DK Shivakumar and others came and requested us to withdraw resignations. After all, I have spent decades in the Congress,” Nagaraj said.

Meanwhile, the rebel MLAs in Mumbai flew a charter flight to Shirdi and sought divine intervention. BC Patil said, “We are here for darshan and soon a new government [in Karnataka] will be formed.”

With the Supreme Court set to hear the Karnataka assembly case on Tuesday, five more rebel Congress- JD (S) MLAs have now approached the court, alleging that the Speaker did not accept their resignations.

In their plea to the Supreme Court, the five MLAs — Anand Singh, Munirathna, K Sudhakar, MTB Nagaraju and Roshan Baig — have said that legislators have the “fundamental right to resign in consultation with his conscience or other attendant circumstances”.

“The right to resign from their office is their fundamental right as a citizen and as a public representative. It is humbly submitted that the actions of the Hon’ble Speaker are in violation of the fundamental rights of the Applicants,” the plea stated.

The Speaker had on Friday denied the allegations, saying that he was only following the Constitution and the rules. Justifying his actions, Speaker KR Ramesh said, “I am delaying the matter because I love this land. I am not acting in haste because of my love for the people.”

The rebel MLAs also argued that unlike the other 10 lawmakers, they had submitted their resignations in person to the Speaker and had followed the procedure of resignation. Hence, the MLAs said, no objections were raised by the Speaker regarding the format like he [the Speaker] happened in case of the other 10 other lawmakers.

“The act of submitting in person itself shows the voluntary nature and genuineness of the resignation,” the plea read, adding, that “there is no scope for inquiry” into their resignations.

They have also opposed the Karnataka government’s move to initiate disqualification proceedings against the MLAs who skipped the legislature party meeting on July 9. “The non-attendance of the legislature party meeting outside the House does not amount to a ground for disqualification,” the MLAs argued.

Updated: July 14, 2019 — 12:26 am