Rajya Sabha poll: Mumbai hotel, last resort of Karnataka MLAs

With a week to go for polling, Cong closes ranks for third seat.

BENGALURU: As pressure mounted on the state Election Commission from leaders of the opposition Janata Dal(S) to call off the crucial Rajya Sabha polls that the Siddaramaiah government would have won hands down, bolstering the Congress numbers in the key upper House, his party spirited away independents and MLAs of smaller parties to a luxury hotel in Mumbai on Sunday night.

In a move that is being widely criticised in the party ranks as it set off the wholly unnecessary speculation that money did indeed change hands to woo the independents to their side, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s close confidants — Yeshwantpur MLA, S. T. Somashekhar, K.R. Puram MLA, Byrathy Basavaraju and RR Nagar MLA, Muniratna Naidu — flew out with five independent MLAs — Mankalu Vaidya, Satish Shail, P. Rajeev, Subba Reddy and Ashok Kheny to Mumbai.


The troika of SBM, an acronym coined by Congress MLAs for Mr Somashekhar, Mr Munirathna and Byrarthi Basavaraj, had successfully indulged in “resort politics” after the BBMP elections.

Sources in the party said fear of cross-voting not only forced the Chief Minister's camp to shift independent MLAs to a plush hotel in Mumbai, but would also involve taking them to a Shani temple in Ahmed Nagar where they would be made to take a vow.

The CM camp which took a risk by fielding the third candidate has had to take such steps to ensure that the third candidate wins comfortably.

Senior Congress leaders on Monday approached the Election Commission with a plea not to countermand the election to four Rajya Sabha seats from Karnataka in the backdrop of "sting operations" purportedly showing MLAs negotiating a money deal in exchange for their votes.

General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Digvijay Singh, led a delegation to the EC on the issue. Later, Mr Singh dismissed suggestions that the matter was "serious" and warranted cancellation of polls.

Noting that Jharkhand had witnessed cancellation of Rajya Sabha polls in March 2012 after a candidate was caught with lots of cash in his vehicle, Mr Singh said nothing of this sort happened in Karnataka

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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