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'Decided to Stay with Congress': Rebel Karnataka MLA Nagaraj Says He Will Withdraw Resignation

The ruling Congress-JDS coalition had intensified efforts to reach out to the rebel MLAs, a day after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced he would seek a trust vote in the House.


Updated:July 14, 2019, 9:26 AM IST
'Decided to Stay with Congress': Rebel Karnataka MLA Nagaraj Says He Will Withdraw Resignation
Rebel Karnataka minister and Congress MLA MTB Nagraj leaves after meeting former CM Siddaramaiah and senior leaders in Bengaluru on Saturday. (PTI)

New Delhi: Rebel Congress MLA MTB Nagaraj, who earlier in the day had hinted at reconsidering his resignation after meeting party leader DK Shivakumar, confirmed he has decided to stay back in the party.

“Sudhakar (Rao) and I had given our resignation from the MLAs' post. Since the morning, all the leaders have been asking me to stay in the Congress. I have decided to stay in the party,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying. “We will try to convince (Chikkaballapura MLA) Sudhakar (Rao) as well and both of us will take our resignation back.”

Nagaraj is the Housing Minister in the 13-month-old Congress-JDS coalition government. He was made a minister on December 22 when the Cabinet was reshuffled and expanded.

His comments came after a meeting with Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and state Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah. Nagaraj's withdrawal of resignation will barely make a difference, with the other MLAs still standing firm on quitting.

Earlier on Saturday, the ruling coalition intensified efforts to reach out to the rebel MLAs after Kumaraswamy made a surprise announcement in the Assembly that he would seek a trust vote in the House.

Congress "troubleshooter" Shivakumar reached Nagaraj's residence on Saturday morning and camped there for almost four-and-a-half hours, trying to pacify the Hoskote MLA. Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara also reached Nagaraj's house to convince him to withdraw his resignation.

“The situation was such that we submitted our resignations. But now DK Shivakumar and other Congress leaders have come here and requested me to withdraw my resignation," Nagaraj had said after meeting the leaders.

Nagaraj, along with Shivkumar, Parmeshwar and Krishna Byre Gowda, had also visited Siddaramaiah at his residence on Saturday afternoon.

Sudhakar is set to reportedly also join the other rebels staying in a Mumbai hotel. The Congress leadership has also made attempts to persuade other MLAs, sources said, adding Kumaraswamy himself was trying to persuade at least four rebel Congress MLAs to withdraw their resignations.

Earlier in the day, five more Congress-JDS MLAs approached the Supreme Court against Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar for not accepting their resignations.

The five lawmakers are Anand Singh, Munirathna, Roshan Baig, MTB Nagaraj and K Sudhakar. They have sought impleadment in the already pending application filed by the 10 other rebels MLAs on which the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

BJP ups the ante

The BJP also upped the ante and said it would press Kumaraswamy to seek the trust vote on Monday. State BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa asserted that the coalition government has lost its majority and its collapse was imminent.

Trying to disrupt the conciliatory efforts of the two coalition parties, a group of BJP leaders,led by MLA SR Vishwanath and Bengaluru corporator Padmanabha Reddy, met seven-time Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy at his residence.

Reddy refused to comment on the development, saying he would not speak on politics till July 15 as he had to appear before the Assembly speaker, regarding resignation. However, he said he would attend the assembly on Monday.

His daughter and Congress MLA Sowmya Reddy said she had no information about the meeting.

Expressing confidence on winning the trust vote, state Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao claimed that the BJP did not move the no-confidence motion as the party was not confident about the numbers. "The government will survive and will continue under the leadership of Kumaraswamy. We will pass the trust vote, you can wait and see," he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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