BJP resorting to politics of poaching in Karnataka: Cong

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury speaks in the Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. Photo: PTI

The Congress on Tuesday (July 9) staged a walkout in Lok Sabha after accusing the BJP of indulging in “politics of poaching” in Karnataka, a charge denied by the ruling party at the Centre.

The Congress tried to raise the issue in Lok Sabha during the Zero Hour, but was disallowed by Speaker Om Birla, who said the matter was discussed in the House on Monday with a response from Deputy Leader of House Rajnath Singh. Birla said the Congress had given an adjournment motion to discuss the Karnataka issue, which he has disallowed.

With the Speaker refusing to relent, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, said the BJP was targeting the Karnataka government, which is on a brink of collapse after the Congress, JD(S) and some independent MLAs tendered their resignations. Hitting back, Singh said the Karnataka issue was an internal matter of the Congress.

“The Congress cannot get its House in order and is disrupting the Lower House,” Singh said. Prior to that Congress members also entered the Well and raised slogans. Congress members accused the ruling party of throttling democracy.

Chowdhury said, “The politics of poaching should be stopped. The politics of targeting should be stopped. Today it is Karnataka and tomorrow it will be Madhya Pradesh,” Chowdhury said. “You (the ruling party) say you have no role in (destabilising government) in Karnataka. But when an MLA comes out of Raj Bhavan, there is a car ready for him, when he is at the airport, there is an aircraft ready for him…. The politics of poaching and targeting must be stopped,” an exasperated Chowdhury said and staged a walkout.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi also walked out and were followed by DMK members. BSP MP Danish Ali also accused the government of “murdering” democracy.
Ali, a former member of the JD(S), was instrumental in forging a post poll alliance with the Congress in Karnataka. The year-old Congress-Janata Dal (S) coalition government in Karnataka is on the brink of collapse after a spate of resignations by MLAs.

So far 14 MLAs have resigned in Karnataka, which includes 11 from the Congress and three from the JD(S). If accepted, the coalition governments strength in the assembly would be reduced to 102 minus the Speaker against the halfway mark of 113. The BJPs strength as of now stands at 107.