Bengaluru: Senior Congress leader and the party's trouble-shooter Ghulam Nabi Azad is wooing rebel Karnataka legislator R. Ramalinga Reddy to withdraw his resignation and save their coalition government with the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) from the brink, a party official said on Wednesday, July 10.
On the advice of the party high command, Azad flew to Bengaluru on Tuesday night to rein in the party's dozen rebel legislators, including Reddy who resigned on July 6, expressing lack of confidence in their 13-month-old government.
"Azad spoke to Reddy on the phone earlier in the day and asked him to withdraw his resignation and help the party save the coalition government," party's state unit spokesman Ravi Gowda told IANS here.
"Azad has also asked Reddy to meet him at a state-run guest house, where he is staying. He also told Reddy that he was ready to meet him at his home in the city and discuss the crisis threatening the survival of the coalition government," said Gowda.
However, Reddy declined to withdraw his resignation accusing the party's state leadership of neglecting him and his seniority in making him a minister.
Reddy, 66, is an eight-time veteran Congress lawmaker, who shifted to the BTM Layout Assembly segment from Jayanagar constituency to allow his daughter Sowmya Reddy contest in the May 2018 Assembly elections.
"Though Reddy resigned, Sowmya hasn't and even attended the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting held on Tuesday to urge the rebels to withdraw their resignations or face disqualification," said Gowda.
Azad also discussed the crisis at a breakfast meeting with the party's state leaders, including its state in-charge K.C. Venugopal, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, state unit President Dinesh Gundu Rao and senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and B.K. Hariprasad, who is party's Rajya Sabha member from the state.
He will also call on JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy later in the day to discuss their strategy for the 10-day Monsoon session of the state legislature from Friday as the Opposition BJP plans to move a no-confidence motion against their fledgling government after 14 rebel lawmakers of the allies resigned. Two MLAs, who were also ministers, resigned and also withdrew support to the government on Monday.
The party has also asked some of its legislators who did not attend the CLP meeting for various reasons to meet Azad to ensure they remain with the party.
Later speaking to reporters, Azad accused Governors of states, where the Congress was in power till recently like Arunachal Pradesh, of working at the behest of the BJP-led Central government to destroy democracy.
"The people are agitated at the way the BJP government at the Centre and Governors in states are conducting themselves. The way democracy is being finished in this country. State after state, opposition governments are being toppled and the NDA government is using them (Governors) to do its bidding," he said.
Appealing to the people of the country to raise their voice against the "undemocratic" ways of the Governors and the Central government, Azad said even Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala was helping the BJP topple the state's coalition government.
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