The four Karnataka Congress MLAs who have been living in Renaissance hotel in Mumbai since January will vote against the state Budget which will be present in the Vidhan Soudha on February 8, say sources.
The four MLAs had skipped the mandatory Congress Legislative Party meet which had been held in Bengaluru on January 18.
Full attendance of MLAs is extremely crucial for the party as once the budget is presented and if it does not get passed through votes on the floor of the assembly, then the government will be deemed a minority government and it will be the Governor Vajubhai Vala's discretion to recommend to the Centre.
The BJP which has been accused by the Congress-JD(S) coalition government of attempting to poach its MLAs but it has denied the allegation. However, as per sources, the BJP is hoping to benefit from the possible dissent by the Congress MLAs who are in Mumbai as if the Budget is not passed, the party can ask the current government to be dismissed and vie for state elections held alongside the Lok Sabha polls, so the party can ride on the Modi wave.
The Congress has issued a whip to its MLAs to attend the Budget presentation. The MLAs who will be absent during the Budget will be disqualified from the assembly.
Congress whip to its MLAs:
It has also called for a Congress Legislative Party meeting ahead of the Budget. During the CLP meet it will formalise the disqualification of two of its MLAs who had skipped the CLP meet in January.
The Congress and JD(S) partnership has been facing difficulties. In January, reportedly nine Congress MLAs from the state were living in Mumbai which led to speculations of them rebelling and joining BJP.
Soon after that, the Congress held the CLP meet, in which four dissenting MLAs failed to attend it.
There have been issues between JD(S) leader Karnataka HD Kumaraswamy and Congress leader Siddaramaiah as the latter party members have been needling the former calling Siddaramiah 'Super CM'. This led to Kumaraswamy threating to quit. Congress president Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with Siddaramaiah following the incident.