Digvijaya refused permission to meet rebels, defers fast

Bengaluru, March 19 (IANS) After a daylong high drama and bravado, senior Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Digvijaya Singh didn’t go on fast as the Karnataka High Court, here on Wednesday, declined to permit him to meet the 22 Congress rebel legislators, staying at a resort, here.

“Singh has retired for rest at a hotel along with some party leaders, Ministers and legislators who flew with him from Bhopal earlier in the day to meet the rebels. He also deferred hunger strike plan,” a party source told IANS.

Singh, 73, a two-time Chief Minister (1993-2003), had petitioned the high court for a direction to the state police to facilitate his meeting with the rebels, as a sitting candidate in the March 26 Rajya Sabha elections and seek their votes for re-election.

Justice R. Devadas rejected Singh’s interim prayer as the Supreme Court was seized of the matter and the rebels wrote to the state police chief that they were not interested in meeting him.

“The setback from the high court and refusal of the rebels forced Singh to defer the hunger strike as the city is lock-down due to coronavirus outbreak and ban on public events,” said the source.

When Karnataka Director General of Police (DGP) Praveen Sood and Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao refused to permit the MP leader to enter the resort, Singh said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state was holding the rebels captive.

In separate videos, accessed by IANS, most rebels said they didn’t want to meet anybody, including Singh, as they came to Bengaluru over a week ago (March 11) on their own and were staying at the resort voluntarily.

The rebels, in a joint letter to the state police chief, asked not to allow Singh to enter the resort and sought security. “We have come here voluntarily. We came to know that a few leaders from MP, including Singh, a few Ministers and some MLAs have come. We don’t want to talk to anybody,” rebel MLA Adal Singh Kansana said in a video message.

Accusing the BJP of luring the rebels with money and muscle power, Singh said the BJP was trying to overthrow a democratically elected government in MP as it did in Karnataka in July 2019.

“Our party MLAs are held hostage by the ruling BJP with the help of the state police at the behest of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa,” Singh said.

Resignation of 14 Congress and 3 Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislators led to fall of the 14-month coalition government in Karnataka on July 23, 2019 after Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote in Assembly.

Though 21 rebel MLAs resigned from Assembly last week, Speaker N.P. Prajapathi accepted the resignations of only six, who were also Ministers in the 15-month-old Nath government.



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