Due to a hung assembly in Karnataka, the prospects of ‘resort politics’, an interesting aspect especially in South Indian politics, looms large. The trigger would be governor’s invitation to the largest party in the state, BJP, to prove a majority in assembly first.
Going by numbers, Congress and JD(S) have a majority in the house with 116 MLAs. They also have a backing of two independent MLAs. BJP with 104 MLAs is 8 short of the magic number. In case it is called for floor test first, Congress and BJP fear it will start poaching their MLAs.
The fear of a crack in the party, they have decided to move their elected members to a resort to save them from BJP. Before heading to a key party meeting, Congress leader DK Shivkumar said its MLAs will be moved to a resort.
“We will be having a meeting soon to discuss the future course of action. It won’t be easy to form the government. There is a plan to move our MLAs to a resort… They (BJP) are poaching our MLAs. We know that. Every day, there is a lot of pressure. But it not so easy because two parties have the necessary number. People are watching this.”
Various media reports suggested that at least five MLAs of the coalition were ‘missing’ from the party meets. However, Siddaramaiah dismissed the reports.
“We are confident of forming the government. No MLA from out camp is missing. All our MLAs are intact,” he said.
Meanwhile, at least three Congress MLAs confirmed that they were contacted by BJP.
BJP need to split away at least one-third of the elected members of a party to break it. That means it will have to make sure either 13 elected members of the JD(S) or 26 MLAs of Congress drift away from their respective parties.
Taking a dig at the impending resort hopping in the Karnataka, the official Twitter handle of Kerala Tourism on Tuesday invited the parties to park their MLAs safely in ‘God’s Own Country’.
The tweet was deleted after four hours of being posted.
Last year, 16 of the 19 MLAs supporting TTV Dinakaran were moved to resorts in Puducherry to prevent them from defecting to CM Palaniswami faction of the AIDMK in Tamil Nadu.
Palaniswami faction needed 117 to reach a simple majority, but he had the confidence of just 104 MLAs out of party’s 134. In order to save them from poaching, Dinakaran moved his loyalists to a resort.
Similarly, Congress flew 44 of their MLAs to the Eagleton golf resort in Bangalore ahead of a Rajya Sabha poll in Gujarat where a number of Congress MLAs had defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).