Seen At Karnataka Rebels' Hotels, Mumbai BJP Leaders Claim Coffee, Dinner

Eleven lawmakers of the Congress and JDS, who resigned on Saturday, were flown to Mumbai by special charter and put up at the Sofitel. The bunch was moved later to another hotel, Renaissance

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The Karnataka lawmakers were flown to Mumbai and put up at the Sofitel (File)


Mumbai: 

A group of lawmakers who have shaken up the coalition government in Karnataka have been at two luxury hotels in Mumbai since Saturday. While the BJP has denied any role in their resignation from the Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition, its leaders were sighted in both the hotels.

Eleven lawmakers of the Congress and JDS, who resigned on Saturday, were flown to Mumbai by special charter and put up at the Sofitel. The bunch was moved later to another hotel, Renaissance.

The few BJP leaders spotted at the two hotels told they had come for coffee, or dinner, or even a salon appointment.

Two BJP leaders have been almost a constant presence at the runaway legislators' hotels - youth wing leader Mohit Kamboj and another Maharashtra BJP leader Prasad Lad.

Prasad Lad, asked why he was seen at the Sofitel hotel, told news agency ANI: "I know about it (situation in Karnataka) only through media and what is shown on television. I am busy with the party's membership drive." Lad told ANI when asked about the present political situation in Karnataka.

A Congress legislator claimed he was stopped from entering the Sofitel hotel. "BJP leaders are allowed to go inside. They are pressurising the MLAs, but I am not being allowed to go," Naseem Khan, a legislator from Mumbai, told ANI.

The legislators were flown in two batches by a special plane owned by a company founded by BJP parliamentarian Rajeev Chandrashekhar.

But Mr Chandrashekhar denied the BJP had anything to do with the flights.

Reacting to the Congress's charge that the BJP was paying for the transport and stay of the lawmakers in Mumbai, rebel lawmaker BC Patil told NDTV: "It is a totally false statement. Everybody is capable of taking care of themselves. Everyone here is senior and they all have self-respect. We are fighting for principles, not for money and power."

Independent lawmaker H Nagesh, who also took the plane from Bengaluru airport, was escorted by BJP Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa's personal assistant, which, according to the Congress, was proof of the BJP's role in engineering chaos in Karnataka's coalition.

"The BJP is saying that they don't have role but when the MPs are going, then who is arranging things for them, the hotels and planes? Everybody wants a strong opposition and government, nobody wants that only one person will run the government," Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said.

But Arvind Limbavalli, Karnataka BJP leader, said Mr Yeddyurappa's aide Santosh only went to the airport "to wish Nagesh well".

Several BJP leaders, including Mr Yeddyurappa, have denied any hand in the crisis.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, responding to Congress protests in parliament: "What is happening in Karnataka is Congress's internal matter. They have failed to set their house in order and are trying to disrupt Lok Sabha."



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