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Kumaraswamy meets 3 rebel Congress MLAs; tries to mollify them

Kumaraswamy meets 3 rebel Congress MLAs; tries to mollify them

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday met three rebel Congress MLAs in an apparent bid to prevent any possible threat to the coalition government headed by him.

In the meeting aimed at pacifying Ramesh Jarkiholi, Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathalli, Kumaraswamy requested them not to take any decision in haste, sources said.

He asked them not to resign from the Congress and assured them of "some positive things" in the days to come, they said.

Kumaraswamy's meeting with the MLAs came on a day when Umesh Jadhav, another rebel Congress MLA, joined the BJP at Kalaburagi, ahead of Prime MinisterNarendra Modi's rally.

According to sources, the coalition leaders are worried about the three MLAs too jumping ship to join BJP any time as part of the saffron party's alleged plan to destabilise the government in Karnataka.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kumaraswamy said he had gone to the house of an MLA (Jarkhiholi) for breakfast during which various issues were discussed.

"What development has happened to pacify? I had come to have breakfast...there is no need to come here to sort out any major issue.

They are all together and I have been saying it since the beginning. They are in constant touch with me and there are no issues," he said.

Stating that there were no issues even now, he said, "We discussed several matters...on the issue of development of their constituencies and districts. Other than that, no political discussions took place."

Asked about Umesh Jadhav's resignation and joiningthe BJP, the Chief Minister said he had nothing to do with it as he was never in touch with him.

"Since the beginning, my confidence was in Ramesh Jarkiholi, Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathali; they were in constant touch with me for the last four months and we had discussions on several issues...

Locally there are some issues and Congress leaders are capable enough to solve them."

BJP sources said Jadhav was likely to be the party's Lok Sabha candidate for Gulbarga to challenge Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, a nine-time MLA and two-term Lok Sabha member, who has never tasted electoral defeat.

Jadhav had Monday submitted his resignation from the Assembly to the Speaker, Ramesh Kumar.

Asked whether BJP was still in touch with MLAs, the Chief Minister said, "BJP people are in touch with everyone, including me. Why do you take it seriously?"

Pointing to the recent meeting of BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa and CLP leader Siddaramaiah, he said, "Can we add a different colour to it? All of us are friends.

In BJP also there will be friends and may talk and according to me there is no need to add a political colour to it."

The Congress has petitioned the Speaker, seeking disqualification of Jadhav, along with Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathali under the anti-defection law.

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