Published On: Mon, Jul 1st, 2019

Two disgruntled Congress MLAs resign from Karnataka Assembly

Bengaluru: In a blow to the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in Karnataka, two Congress legislators – rebel MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi and Anand Singh – on Monday sent in their resignations from the state Assembly.

Singh also urged the state government to carve out Vijayanagar as a separate district

In his hand-written letter in Kannada, faxed to the office of Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, Jarkiholi complained his party had “ignored” his seniority after dropping from the cabinet last year.

“I have resigned as Gokak legislator for being ignored by the party and the coalition government,” he said.

His resignation came came within hours of Anand Singh, who represents Vijayanagar in Ballari, quitting to protest the Congress-JD-S coalition government’s plans to sell over 3,667 acres in Ballari to JSW Steel Ltd.

“I have submitted my resignation letter to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar at his residence, as I am unhappy with the coalition government’s decision to sell the land to Jindal.

“As I said last month that I would resign if the state government went ahead with the lease-cum-sale deed agreement with the Jindal steel company for mining in the entire area, I have submitted my resignation to the Speaker as I am willing to sacrifice anything for the welfare of my people,” Singh told reporters after Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan to explain his reasons for resigning.

A three-time MLA from the mining-rich district, Singh was Tourism Minister in the BS Yeddyurappa-led BJP government (2008-13) and had joined the Congress before the 2018 Assembly elections.

On bail after the CBI arrested him in October 2013 for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore iron ore export scam from the state’s Belikeri seaport, Singh was also in the news in January when fellow party MLA JN Ganesh, whose Kampalli assembly seat is also in Ballari, allegedly assaulted him at a resort near here in a drunken brawl.

After the Lok Sabha elections, the state cabinet decided to sell the mining land to Jindal steel plant at the cost of Rs 1.20 lakh per acre.

Former Congress minister KH Patil also opposed the sale though the state government claimed that it was only honouring the lease-cum-sale agreement entered by the then government in 2006-07 when Kumaraswamy headed then JD-S-BJP coalition set-up.

Singh also urged the state government to carve out Vijayanagar as a separate district.

“I will wait for the response of the coalition government to my demands and decide my next course of action,” he said.

Denying that he had resigned to return to the BJP as part of the saffron party’s “Operation Lotus”, to poach away rival party legislators, Singh said he was not in touch with any of its leaders.

“I also clarify that I am not blackmailing the government because I have not been made a minister or hoping to become chairman of any state-run board or corporation,” he added.

In a press communique, the Speaker’s office confirmed receiving Singh’s resignation letter, adding it “will take action in accordance with the rules of procedure and conduct of business” of the Assembly.

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