Mumbai: Congress rebel MLAs, who are lodged at a Mumbai hotel, on Wednesday said that they have no intention to meet Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar, who has constantly been claiming that he is in the city to meet his "friends" as "their heat is beating to meet him".
Calling Shivakumar, who is adamant on meeting the rebel legislators, a "drama", one of the Congress MLAs, Ramesh Jharkioli, told ANI, "He is doing a drama. We have no intention to meet him (Shivakumar). We are not interested in meeting him. He is now saying 'we are friends', so was he sleeping from last one year."
"We came here ourselves. Nobody from BJP is here to meet us. We have no pressure from BJP. 2-3 more people (from Congress-JDS) will come here. We have not left Congress party but have only resigned from post of MLA. We will work as a Congress worker," Jharkioli said when asked about Shivakumar's charge against BJP of orchestrating the political turmoil in Karnataka.
Echoing similar sentiments, another rebel Congress leader B Basavaraj told ANI that keeping "friendship, love and affection" aside, Shivakumar should understand why the disgruntled leaders do not want to meet him.
"We don't intend to insult DK Shivakumar. We have faith in him but there is a reason we have taken this step. Friendship, love and affection are on one side, with gratitude and respect we request him to understand why we cannot meet him today," Basavaraj said.
Meanwhile, Shivakumar, whose booking for a daylong stay was cancelled by Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, claimed that the heart of all disgruntled MLAs is "beating to meet" to meet him.
"Nothing is permanent in politics. There are no friends and no enemies. Anyone can turn at any moment. I am trying to contact them (rebel MLAs). I will get a call. Their heart is beating to meet their friend," Shivakumar said.
Shivakumar earlier this morning reached the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in Mumbai, where rebel Congress-JD(S)MLAs are staying, amid slogans of "Go back, Go back - Shivakumar go back".
The slogans were raised by supporters of one of the disgruntled JD(S) MLAs, Narayan Gowda.
Security was tightened outside the hotel after the rebel MLAs wrote a letter to Mumbai Commissioner of Police on Tuesday seeking protection, stating, "We have heard Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar are going to storm the hotel, we feel threatened."
"We do not want to meet him (Shivakumar), kind request to help us in this matter and do not allow them to enter the hotel premises," the letter said.
Among the MLAs who have signed the letter are Shivram Hebbar, Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, ST Somshekar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavraj, Gopalaiyya, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda, and Mahesh Kumutali.
The 13-month old Congress-JD(S) government slumped into crisis following the resignation of 10 MLAs from the membership of the state Assembly last week.
Independent MLA H Nagesh and Congress' Roshan Baig have also deserted the HD Kumaraswamy-led government.
The state Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member Assembly is 113.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition is making all efforts to protect its government which seems to have fallen short of a majority.
The Congress party has been constantly accusing the BJP of conspiring to topple Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka.
However, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, in his reply in Parliament, asserted that his party is committed to parliamentary democracy and has no relation with the developments in Karnataka.