- Digvijaya Singh sat in protest outside Bengaluru's Ramada Hotel
- 22 Madhya Pradesh rebel MLAs staying at Bengaluru hotel
- Congress insists that MLAs being held captive in Bengaluru
Mr Singh, who landed in Bengaluru early this morning, was received at the airport by newly-appointed Karnataka Congress chief and the party's main troubleshooter, DK Shivakumar. The Congress leaders headed straight to the Ramada Hotel in north Bengaluru's Yelahanka where the 22 rebel MLAs are staying.
"We were expecting them to come back, but when we saw they're being held back, messages came from their families. I personally spoke to five MLAs. They said they're captive and that their phones have been snatched away. There is Police in front of every room. They're being followed 24/7," Mr Singh said. He claimed that a few of them had told him they were in Bengaluru against their will. "BJP's model of democracy: MLAs can't speak to CM, MLAs can't speak to their family members, MLAs can't speak to Speaker, MLAs can't speak to party leaders. MLAs will only speak under controlled circumstances & glare of goons posted by opposition," he tweeted.
"I demand that we must be allowed to meet our MLAs who are in BJP's captivity. I announce my hunger strike till we are allowed to meet our MLAs. We live in democracy, not dictatorship," Digvijaya Singh tweeted.
22 MLAs of Congress resigned earlier this month, pushing the 15-month-old Kamal Nath government to the brink of collapse.
After the speaker accepted the resignation of six Congress MLAs on Saturday, the party now has 108 legislators. These include 16 of the rebels in Bengaluru. The BJP has 107 seats in the Madhya Pradesh assembly, which now has an effective strength of 222. The majority mark is 112.
The BJP has gone to the Supreme Court asking for an immediate floor test. The Governor, Lalji Tandon, has twice asked Chief Minister Kamal Nath to prove his majority but the Congress accuses him of "pre-determining" that the party is already in a minority.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Chief Minister Kamal Nath and the secretary of the state assembly to explain their stance on the BJP plea for an immediate floor test. The BJP approached the top court after the assembly was adjourned for 10 days on Monday.
On Tuesday, the Congress approached the Supreme Court, asking for its intervention for the release of the MLAs. The party has also claimed that they need to be present in the assembly for the trust vote.
The Madhya Pradesh assembly speaker wrote to Governor Lalji Tandon to take concrete steps for "safe return" of the MLAs from Bengaluru. The letter was sent around 10 hours after the rebel Congress MLAs held a press conference in Bengaluru, saying they were not held captive by anyone and had resigned on their own.
The Governor wrote to the speaker NP Prajapati early this morning, saying the speaker made an "impartial and courageous" decision in accepting the resignations of six ministers.