Congress leader Rahul Gandhi joined his party lawmakers in raising slogans in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday over the political developments in Karnataka state where his party’s coalition government is staring at collapse following resignation of 15 dissident lawmakers belonging to the alliance and two independents.
This is for the first time Rahul, who gave finality to his resignation as party chief last week, was seen raising slogans in the newly-elected 17th Lok Sabha.
Congress lawmakers shouted slogans like "down with dictatorship" and “stop the politics of poaching" and Rahul joined them but his pitch was not as high as others. He merely repeated the last words of the slogans. On the other hand, the Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day following an uproar by Congress lawmakers on the Karnataka issue.
Rahul reached the House during the Zero Hour at noon when Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Choudhury was raising the Karnataka issue accusing ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of "poaching" its legislators in the state. "The politics of poaching should be stopped. The politics of targeting should be stopped. Today it is Karnataka and tomorrow it will be Madhya Pradesh," Choudhury said.
He was, however, disallowed by Speaker Om Birla saying, the matter was discussed in the House on Monday and Deputy Leader of Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh had responded to the charges. The Congress today staged a walkout in Lok Sabha after accusing the BJP of indulging in "politics of poaching" in Karnataka, a charge denied by the ruling party at the Centre.
The Karnataka government was pushed to the brink after the Congress and its alliance partner Janata Dal(S) and some independent lawmakers resigned. If their resignations are accepted by the state Assembly Speaker, the government of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will lose majority in the 224-member legislature.
Rajnath Singh said the Karnataka issue was an internal matter of the Congress. "The Congress cannot get its House in order and is disrupting the Lower House," he said. So far 14 lawmakers have resigned in Karnataka, which includes 11 from the Congress and three from the Janata Dal(S).If accepted, the coalition government's strength in the assembly would be reduced to 102 minus the Speaker against the halfway mark of 113. The BJP's strength as of now stands at 107.
Congress Legislature Party leader in Karnataka Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengalurui that the party would seek the disqualification of the rebel legislators who have resigned. He was talking to reporters after a CLP meet here convened to manage the crisis following the resignation of the 13 coalition legislators. All the legislators who attended the CLP meet have reiterated their loyalty to the party, he said.