Mumbai: Karnataka Congress Minister DK Shivakumar and JD(S) MLA Shivalinge Gowda on Wednesday arrived in Mumbai on a special flight from Bengaluru to meet rebel MLAs amid political turmoil in the state.
Meanwhile, security has been increased outside Hotel Renaissance in Powai in Mumbai where the 10 dissident Karnataka Congress-JD(S) MLAs are staying. Maharashtra State Reserve Police Force and Riot Control Police have been deployed outside the hotel. When asked about the heavy security deployed outside the hotel ahead of his visit, Shivakumar told ANI: "Let Mumbai Police or any other force be deployed. Let them do their duty. We have come to meet our friends. We were born together in politics, we will die together in politics. They are our party men. We have come to meet them."
The security has been tightened as the disgruntled MLAs had earlier written a letter to Mumbai Commissioner of Police seeking protection, stating "We have heard Chief Minister and DK Shivakumar are going to storm the hotel, we feel threatened." "We the following elected members of Legislative Assembly of the state of Karnataka are staying at Hotel Renaissance Powai in Mumbai. We have heard that Shri Kumaraswamy and DK Shivakumar and others are going to storm in the hotel premises, we feel threatened for the same," read the letter written by the legislators.
"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 MLAs added in the letter. 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.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police stated that "Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar will not be allowed inside the hotel where 10 rebel Karnataka Congress-JD(S) MLAs are staying". However, "He will not be stopped before the gates of the hotel," police said.
The 13-month old Congress-JD(S) government slumped into crisis following the resignation of 11 MLAs from the membership of the state Assembly last week. 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. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has also claimed that they will overcome the crisis. All the ministers from the two parties have resigned paving way for the restructuring of the state Cabinet in a bid to accommodate the dissident MLAs.
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.