The Congress is facing rebellion in Karnataka, as per sources, with the party confirming that at least three of its MLAs are currently camping in Mumbai for unknown and as-yet-undisclosed reasons.
Following Republic TV's sensational newsbreak of the three legislators allegedly camping at a hotel in Mumbai's Powai, senior Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar has issued a statement attempting to play down talk of any crisis:
Speaking to reporters, DK Shivakumar said that "Three people (MLAs) are in Mumbai. Whom they have gone to meet I don't know. I know which hotel they're staying in also."
Shivakumar continued, dismissing that anything was amiss and claimed that at least one lawmaker was being named in this context for incorrect reasons, "Everyone is working in their constituencies. Some names are being pulled in unwantedly. BC Patil is busy running around inviting people to attend his marriage. It is unfortunate that his name too is being dragged"
He finally put out a reason for why the trio has gone to Mumbai, offering, "They've gone for some reason, maybe to take rest. I don['t want to disclose that information now."
As per Republic TV's inputs, however, the matter may be more serious than the Congress is letting on, and there could be as many as 12 MLAs flying to Mumbai, and may be likely to meet a senior leader from the Karnataka opposition.
Furthermore, sources have also told Republic TV that the Congress MLAs who are currently unreachable include Umesh Jaadhav, Anand Singh, Ganesh, Janardhan Hebbar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Nagendra. Jarkiholi, who had rebelled about two weeks ago, is allegedly claiming the support of two more MLAs.
The Congress is holding a meeting of its senior leadership in the state, including former CM Siddaramaiah, G Parameshwara, Dinesh Gundu Rao and DK Shivakumar, to discuss what is frequently referred to as 'Operation Kamala' in reference to a political event from the last decade when a significant portion of Congress MLAs were allegedly 'horse-traded' away to the BJP.
The BJP in Karnataka would need somewhere in the region of 14 MLAs to pose a threat to the JD(S)-Congress HD Kumaraswamy-led government in the state.