Bengaluru: A day after his close aide and Housing Minister, M.T.B. Nagaraj took flight to Mumbai to unite with the rebel MLAs camping there, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah along with Dy CM G. Parameshwar gave a pep talk to party legislators who are staying at a plush hotel here to beware of 'further poaching efforts' by the opposition BJP.
Mr Siddaramaiah and Dr Parameshwar also presented a detailed picture of how the party intended to break the unity of the rebels stationed in Mumbai and win the trust vote on Thursday. “Both leaders exuded confidence that they would be able to bring Bengaluru strongman, R. Ramalinga Reddy and Shivajinagar MLA Roshan Baig back to the party fold. Besides this, they sounded confident of getting Hosapete MLA Anand Singh back in the party. Apart from this, there are two more MLAs with whom they have established contact though they refused to divulge these MLAs' names,” a source said.
According to the source, to win the trust vote, the coalition requires 108 votes, one more than the BJP, which at present enjoys the support of 107 members , including the two independents. “We do not need 116 members, we need just one more than what the BJP has. If we get Mr Reddy, Mr Baig and Mr Singh on our side, the coalition's strength will jump to 104 (which includes the lone BSP legislator). The JD(S) too is trying its best and is trying to bring back one or two of its legislators barring former party state president, A.H. Vishwanath. So do not lose heart, we will try to get four more of those camping in Mumbai on our side apart from Mr Reddy, Mr Baig and Mr Singh,” the source said.
The leaders had a word of caution for the legislators- if the coalition failed to win the trust vote, they would have to be prepared to sit in the opposition. They assured the MLAs that the party would act tough against Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumatalli - by initiating disqualification process against them. The leaders pointed out that the counsel for the rebels in the apex court, while arguing their case, had reportedly given a suo motu statement that the Speaker was free to act on the disqualification process against Mr Jarakholi and Mr Kumatalli.