High drama outside hotel where rebel Karnataka MLAs holed up

KARNATAKA minister D K Shivakumar and his Congress colleagues Milind Deora and Naseem Khan were detained on Wednesday outside a hotel where rebel MLAs are holed up amid high drama and deepening uncertainty about the future of the State’s ruling coalition. Shivakumar, the Congress’ troubleshooter, had been camping outside the Renaissance Hotel in Powai since Wednesday morning, determined to meet the rebel MLAs in a desperate bid to pull the Congress-JD(S) Government from the brink of collapse. Security personnel, camera crews, media personnel and political workers jostled with each other outside the luxury hotel that has become the centrepiece of the crisis in Karnataka.
Slogans of “Shivakumar go back” were raised and some people clambered on to the high gates of the hotel on the outskirts of the city. Shivakumar was being interviewed by a TV channel when he was almost pulled away by Mumbai Police and detained. Former Union Minister Deora and former Maharashtra Minister Khan who had come to meet him were also detained. All three were taken to BKC police guesthouse. Shivakumar had reached the hotel at 8.20 am but was stopped by police from entering. His plea that he had a valid reservation in the hotel fell on deaf ears.
Officials told Shivakumar that the rebel legislators had written to the Mumbai Police Chief that they feared a threat to their lives due to his arrival. But Shivakumar, who was accompanied by senior JD(S) MLAs stood his ground, saying that politics is an art of the possibility and he would not leave without meeting friends. He told reporters that he had “come in peace” and had no intention of threatening the rebel MLAs. He added that he had come unarmed and just wanted to have coffee with his friends. “I don’t want to harm anyone,” he said.
“I haven’t brought any security force or weapon, I only have my heart with me. I want to meet my friends and have coffee with them. If the BJP is not involved then why are we not being allowed to enter,” he said. Shivakumar and his Congress colleagues Milind Deora and Naseem Khan were picked up outside Renaissance Hotel in Powai and taken to the BKC police guesthouse where they were in custody for several hours. Shivakumar was later released and sent packing back to Bengaluru, Deora said, adding he and Khan were also released.
‘Fresh set of resignation letters of eight MLAs sent to K’taka Speaker’
A FRESH set of resignation letters of eight rebel MLAs who are camping in Mumbai was sent to the Speaker of Karnataka Assembly Wednesday, said a BJP leader from Maharashtra. Another two rebel Congress MLAs — Housing Minister MTB Nagraj and K Sudhakar — who resigned on Wednesday were likely to arrive here during the night or in the morning, he added.
“The earlier resignation letters had some technical errors hence they were rejected by the Karnataka Speaker. We have sent a fresh dispatch of resignation letters via Speed Post as well as emailed copies to the Speaker,” the BJP leader said. “Copies of these letters will also be delivered by hand to the Speaker.
This time we are taking utmost precautions and leaving no chance to the opposition,” the leader said. Earlier on Wednesday, high drama was witnessed in the city as police detained Karnataka Congress minister D K Shivakumar who was on a mission to woo back a dozen rebels holed up in a luxury hotel here as the JD(S)-Congress Govt in the southern state is teetering on the verge of collapse.

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