Bengaluru: After having just weathered the storm over four party MLAs skipping the Legislature party meeting called on Friday, the ruling Congress faced more embarrassment on Sunday when reports emerged that its Vijayanagar MLA Anand Singh had been admitted to hospital and had to receive stitches on his head following a scuffle with fellow Congress legislator representing Kampli, J.N. Ganesh.
The ugly incident happened at Eagleton Resort in the outskirts of Bengaluru where all Congress legislators were ferried to keep them away from poaching attempts by the opposition BJP. Both MLAs involved in the fight are from Ballari district and initial reports suggested that a feud in district politics could be the trigger for the incident.
However reliable sources confided that Mr Ganesh, who was considered one of those vulnerable to poaching by the BJP, was upset that Mr Singh, who too was a fence-sitter earlier, had informed Congress general secretary in charge of Karnataka K.C. Venugopal about the manipulations of the BJP and the goodies being offered to party legislators to break away from the Congress. It was after receiving this information that the Congress swung into action and took its legislators to the resort.
According to unconfirmed reports, Mr Singh was attacked with a bottle though both Congress leaders and hospital authorities denied any such `bloody attack'. Some Congressmen maintained that there were no external injuries on his body but they did not deny the fact that a physical fight had indeed broken out between the Ballari legislators, in which the name of Hagari Bommanahalli MLA Mr Bheema Naik has also cropped up.
Sources said that both Mr Ganesh and Mr Bheema Naik were upset with Mr Anand Singh, who reportedly spilled the beans to senior Congress leaders on where the rebel Congress legislators were lodged and what BJP leaders were offering them. Besides, during the CLP meeting, Mr Singh reportedly gave graphic details of Operation Kamala and the people involved in it.
The face-off is said to have happened on Saturday night at around 9.30 pm with Mr Bheema Naik too joining Mr Ganesh in taking on Mr Singh. However, other legislators in the resorts intervened and stopped it. The fight broke out again at around midnight by which time most legislators had gone to sleep,
Though it could not be confirmed if Mr Ganesh hit Mr Singh with a bottle, he did land some nasty blows on the Vijayanagar MLA, said sources adding that Mr Singh got himself admitted to Apollo Hospital in Seshadripuram in the city at around 7 am the next day.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwar who visited the resort, reportedly spoke to Mr Ganesh, who apologised for the incident. However, since then, he has locked himself up in his room and did not turn up for breakfast or lunch, sources said.
Meanwhile, trying to downplay the entire episode, Water Resource Minister Mr D.K. Shivakumar claimed Mr Singh had gone for a marriage and would return soon. His brother and MP Mr D.K. Suresh, who visited the hospital, said Mr Singh had got admitted to the hospital on his own, after complaining of chest pain.
Former CM Mr Siddaramaiah confirmed that the fight had happened and said he would know about the reasons only after talking to both MLAs.
Chief Minister Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy is said to be upset over the latest development. The idea of taking the legislators to Eagleton was conceived by him and Mr D.K. Shivakumar. However, the next day, Mr Siddaramaiah made the legislators stay for one more day and this reportedly led to the encounter between the Ballari MLAs leading to the fight....