Worse than emergency: Deve Gowda slams BJP over Karnataka crisis
Bengaluru, July 10: Slamming the denial of entry to a Congress minister from Karnataka into a Mumbai hotel to meet 12 rebel MLAs, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda on Wednesday said the situation was "worse than Emergency" and he had not seen anything like it in 60 years of public life.
Deve Gowda also urged all political parties to come together, setting aside their differences, to "save democracy", which, he alleged, was under threat.
"I feel that the present situation is worse than the Emergency. D K Shivakumar (Congress minister) went to the hotel but was denied entry despite having booked a room there... I have not seen anything like this in my 60 years of political life," Deve Gowda said.
"All political parties should set aside their differences and come together to save democracy," Deve Gowda added.
D K Shivakumar was prevented from entering the hotel where rebel MLAs are put up, prompting him to announce that he won't leave the spot till he gets to meet the legislators, in a bid to save the Congress- JD(S) government in Karnataka.
The MLAs-- seven of Congress, three of Janata Dal (Secular) JD(S) and two Independents-- are in Mumbai since Saturday after resigning from the membership of the Karnataka assembly and withdrawing support to the state's Congress- Janata Dal (Secular) JD(S) coalition government.
Deve Gowda was speaking prior to a march taken out here by workers of ruling Congress-JD(S) towards Raj Bhavan to protest against BJP's alleged attempts to topple the government.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah warned that Congress and JD(S) workers would not keep quiet and would stage protests wherever BJP leaders went in Karnataka.
"I tell you that our workers will not let you travel in the state. We will create a situation that you will not be able to meet people," the Congress leader said.
Siddaramaiah alleged that the MLAs who had gone to Mumbai had done so only for the lure of money and had not sought public opinion before tendering their resignations.
"They have gone for money and power. They have sold themselves. I am appealing to all those who have camped in Mumbai, succumbing to the allurement trap laid by BJP, to come back and withdraw your resignation letters," Siddaramaiah said.
"Give respect to the people's verdict, else they will teach you a lesson," Siddaramaiah added.
Earlier, Congress and JD(S) workers, led by senior party leaders including Siddaramaiah, Congress general secretary K C Venugopal, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge courted arrest after they were prevented from marching towards the Raj Bhavan.
Following this, the leaders squatted on the road in protest.
All of them were later taken away from the venue in a bus.
The coalition government is teetering on the brink of collapse after 14 MLAs of ruling Congress and the JD(S) tendered their resignations to the office of the speaker K R Ramesh Kumar.
The Congress has sought the intervention of Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in disqualifying its rebel legislators and accused the BJP of using money power to lure its members. The BJP has denied the charge.