The Congress's Digvijaya Singh, DK Shivakumar and two other leaders were taken into preventive custody in Bengaluru when they tried to enter the resort where the rebel MLAs of Madhya Pradesh have been living. They were released later. The party declared it was another evidence that the 16 MLAs were being forcibly detained by the BJP.
The MLAs, all loyalists of Jyotiraditya Scindia, were flown out to Bengaluru last week and shortly after Mr Scindia quit Congress, they and six other MLs had sent their resignation to the Madhya Pradesh Governor and the Speaker, pushing the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government on the brink of collapse.
"Digvijaya-ji is our Rajya Sabha candidate. He went to meet MLAs but he was told that he is a security risk. He became a security risk amid 500 Karnataka police personnel? This shows that the MLAs have been held hostage and the BJP is attempting to hijack the government," Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Congress had also moved the Supreme Court, asking for help in securing the release of the MLAs, pointing out that the trust vote cannot be held in their absence. At the hearing in court today, the party claimed the resignations extracted "by force" -- a claim the MLAs denied in videos posted this morning.
In Bengaluru, meanwhile, Digvijaya Singh, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and Sajjan Singh Verma and a few other leaders turned up at the Commissioner's office demanding that they be allowed to meet the 16 MLAs. Later when they went to the resort, Mr Singh, Mr Shivakumar, Sachin Yadav and Kantilal Bhuria were taken into preventive custody.
As the police took them away, Mr Singh said, "I don't know where I'm being taken. I should have been allowed to meet my MLAs. I am a law-abiding citizen. We will save the (Madhya Pradesh) government and bring back our MLAs too'.
"The BJP is hell bent on destabilising democratically elected governments. It has strengthened our resolve to fight to save democracy," DK Shivakumar said.
"We live in a democracy, not dictatorship," Mr Singh said, declaring that he would go on a hunger strike.
The BJP's model of democracy, he said, was one where "MLAs can't speak to the Chief Minister, the MLAs can't speak to their family members, the MLAs can't speak to the Speaker, the MLAs can't speak to party leaders, the MLAs will only speak under controlled circumstances and glare of goons posted by opposition".