Karnataka Congress MLA B Nagendra dismisses BJP-contact rumours, says was in Mumbai for ‘personal reasons’

Bengaluru (Karnataka): Karnataka Congress MLA B Nagendra, one of the three Congress legislators to have travelled to Mumbai triggering a political frenzy in the state, on Thursday refuted rumours of being in contact with the BJP and cited “personal reasons” for his travel.

Speaking to the media here, Nagendra said: “I had travelled to Mumbai due to personal reasons, I have my business here, thus come here often. Do not perceive this in any different way, I was not in contact with anyone”.

Nagendra, MLA from the Bellary Rural constituency, further stated that he might not be able to attend the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting on Friday, as he is required to attend court proceedings.

“Tomorrow, I have been summoned to the court over a case, so it will be difficult for me to come (and attend the meeting), but I will try my best,” Nagendra said.

As the allegations and counter-allegations of poaching have cast their shadow on the state government led by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, the Congress has called a meeting of its legislators here on January 18 to take stock of
the prevailing political situation.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah issued a warning of action under the anti-defection law against those MLAs who abstain themselves from the meeting, with the possibility of expulsion from the party a possibility.

Karnataka was thrown into a political frenzy on Monday when Congress leaders alleged that three of their MLAs were taken to Mumbai by the BJP in an attempt to lure them to their fold.

This was followed by two independent MLAs – R Shankar and H Nagesh – withdrawing their support from the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state.

Both BJP and the Congress-JD(S) alliance have traded poaching allegations with each other, with the BJP camping all 104 of its elected lawmakers from the state in a Gurugram hotel.

The BJP also used the situation to pile pressure on the incumbent government, saying that the withdrawal of support by the two MLAs indicates unrest within their ranks and a possible premature end to their term.

However, Congress and JD(S) leaders have expressed calm, saying that the situation does not affect them in any way and that their government is well under control.