Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, with a face mask on, interlocking arms with fellow party workers sat on a dharna outside the Ramada hotel in Bengaluru early Wednesday morning after he was allegedly not allowed to meet the Congress MLAs inside the hotel.
In a video clip, it can be seen how the police are trying to remove him from the spot as he resists being evicted.
“I’m a Rajya Sabha candidate from Madhya Pradesh, voting is scheduled for March 26. My MLAs have been kept here, they want to speak to me, their phones have been snatched, police are not letting me speak to them saying there is a security threat to MLAs,” said Digvijaya Singh.
The Madhya Pradesh leader, who arrived early this morning in the city, said he has been receiving messages from the families of the lawmakers who have been held “captive” in Bengaluru.
#WATCH Karnataka: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh continues to sit on dharna near Ramada hotel in Bengaluru, allegedly after he was not allowed by Police to visit it, as Police tries to remove him from the spot. 21 #MadhyaPradesh Congress MLAs are lodged at the hotel. pic.twitter.com/CtWuP1rvKH— ANI (@ANI) March 18, 2020
“We were expecting them to come back, but when we saw they’re being held back, messages came from their families,” the leader added.
He also alleged that there is police presence in every hotel room and the lawmakers are being followed at all hours.
Away from Bengaluru, the Supreme Court is set to hear BJP MLAs plea seeking an immediate floor test while the Congress had filed a separate plea saying the test could not be conducted as lawmakers were held “captive” in Karnataka.
“The floor test can happen only when all the elected lawmakers are present in the assembly,” the Congress party said in its petition.
Facing a constitutional crisis, the Kamal Nath-led Congress government did not hold a floor test in the state assembly on Tuesday despite governor Lalji Tandon’s suggestion to go for it.
The 22 Congress lawmakers from Madhya Pradesh in Bengaluru appeared before the media on Tuesday and said they were with BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and had not been held captive. The MLAs said they were open to the idea of returning to their home state immediately if provided Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) security.
#WATCH Karnataka: Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has now been placed under preventive arrest. He was sitting on dharna near Ramada hotel in Bengaluru, allegedly after he was not allowed by Police to visit it. 21 #MadhyaPradesh Congress MLAs are lodged at the hotel. pic.twitter.com/dP3me4qjw0— ANI (@ANI) March 18, 2020
The Congress government’s problems began last week after 22 MLAs resigned from the assembly in the wake of former senior party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia joining the BJP. The speaker later accepted the resignations of six members, bringing the strength of the House to 222, with the majority mark at 112.
Before the crisis, the Congress had 114 MLAs, and enjoyed the support of four independent legislators, two MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party and one legislator of the Samajwadi Party. The BJP has 107 MLAs.
Notably, 17 of these 22 MLAs including the six ministers went incommunicado on March 9. They were later found staying in a resort in Bengaluru. Two Congress MLAs had already been staying there since March 3 while the others joined them later.
In reply to a question whether they would join the BJP, the rebel MLAs said they would sit together and decide later.