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The Great Escape from Bengaluru: How Congress, JD(S) MLAs Were Shepherded Out

The senior leaders were asked to mislead the media claiming that they would go to Kerala or Punjab. But they had made all arrangements in Hyderabad for the stay of their MLAs through friendly government there.

D P Satish | News18.comdp_satish

Updated:May 18, 2018, 12:01 PM IST
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The Great Escape from Bengaluru: How Congress, JD(S) MLAs Were Shepherded Out
The senior leaders were asked to mislead the media claiming that they would go to Kerala or Punjab. But they had made all arrangements in Hyderabad for the stay of their MLAs through friendly government there.
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Bengaluru: An hour after taking oath the Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa ordered the police to withdraw security at Eagleton Resort in the outskirts of state capital. Within minutes, the police removed barricades and checkposts and disappeared. The same thing happenned at Shangri-La hotel, located just 1 KM from Vidhana Soudha.

The Congress MLAs were staying at Eagleton Resort and the JDS were sheltered at Shangri-La. The leaders from both the parties realised that they were no longer safe in their own state and decided to move out.

The Congress leader DK Shivakumar and the JDS chief HD Kumaraswamy spoke to each other to discuss the safest location for their MLAs.

Initially, they were planning to shift them to neighbouring Kerala by a special aircraft. According to insiders, the DGCA sat on their request delaying the clearance. But the government has rubbished their claims. However, they had decided to move all their MLAs to neighbouring Telangana via Andhra Pradesh by road.

There were two reasons. AP border is less than 100 KM from Bengaluru and just 90 minutes’ drive.

Even though TN is much closer, they decided against it because of pro-BJP government there. The senior leaders were asked to mislead the media claiming that they would go to Kerala or Punjab. But they had made all arrangements in Hyderabad for the stay of their MLAs through friendly government there.

The AP CM Chandrababu Naidu had also spoken to JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda offering shelter to MLAs of Congress and JDS. Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao also agreed to host them in Hyderabad. Some trusted Congress MLCs were contacted by DK Shivakumar asking them to handle the logistics as the MLAs were not in a position to come out.

The MLAs spoke to their family members asking them to send clothes to the resort. Even their family members were not told where they would be taking the MLAs.

The Sharma travels was asked to send trusted drivers to pilot them to Hyderabad, but even they were not told about the destination. Anticipating trouble from the BJP, they had kept spare vehicles ready at several places till AP border which lays beyond Gauribidanur in Chikkaballapura district.

According to a Congress MLC, two Congress MLAs Zameer Ahmad Khan and Shivarama Hebbar offered to drive the buses till the border. In the meantime, DK Shivakumar and HD Kumaraswamy had asked their people to be ready to help them in case of any trouble. The party leaders in Bengaluru and Chikkaballapura districts informed ground level workers to be ready.

Finally, the newly elected lawmakers were packed in small groups in luxury buses from Sharma travels and sources said they were last spotted in Kurnool, possibly on their way to Hyderabad.

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