In a desperate bid to make a comeback into active politics, disqualified Congress MLAs of the State on Friday held a meeting to evolve a strategy to get their case heard at the earliest in the Supreme Court.
The meeting assumed significance since the apex court on Thursday refused to pass an order on a plea to list a batch of petitions filed by 17 disqualified MLAs challenging their ouster from the State Legislative Assembly by the former Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar under the anti-defection law.
It (the batch of petitions) will come up. What is the urgency? a Bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana told the counsel appearing for the disqualified MLAs.
The legislators met at the residence of K. Sudhakar, disqualified MLA for Chickballapur, and discussed funds sanctioned and development works that were undertaken in the constituencies they had represented.
Other disqualified Congress MLAs who attended the meeting were N. Nagaraju (MTB), Munirathna, Shrimant Patil, and Byrathi Basavaraj. They reportedly discussed political consequences of the delay in hearing their case.
B.C. Patil told mediapersons after the meeting, We held discussions on how, through our lawyers, the case can be brought for hearing at the earliest.
Mr. Nagaraju said they discussed about the case and also the development activities in the constituencies they represented.
Ruling out any discontent with the BJP, both Mr. Nagaraju and Mr. B.C. Patil said the Finance Department had ordered release of funds for the constituencies and development works would be implemented soon. Interestingly, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has used his discretionary powers to release higher amounts to their constituencies in Hyderabad Karnataka (Kalyana Karnataka) region, where byelections will be held.
On rumours about another group of JD(S) MLAs, led by the former Higher Education Minister G.T. Deve Gowda joining the BJP, Mr. B.C. Patil said they were unaware of any such development. Other legislators plan to join the BJP has no impact on the case, he said.
On Thursday, the former Minister and JD(S) MLA S.R. Srinivas had claimed that though he was part of the government his phone was tapped and said he does not know whether the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy suspected him or not, fuelling speculation that he was also on the fence. He had demanded that those who indulge in phone-tapping be punished.
Mr. Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs 13 from the Congress, three from the JD(S), and an Independent who had joined the Congress and later withdrew support to the then CongressJD(S) coalition government on the charge of anti-party activities based on complaints by the two parties in July.