Question mark on Cong duo from Bellary
Bangalore: As both the BJP and the Congress-Janata Dal Secular alliance made a beeline for the Karnataka governor's door and the Congress geared up to herd its legislators to a resort to prevent poaching, word emerged that two Congress legislators, who had switched over from the BJP just before the elections, could not be traced.
Two other Congress MLAs appeared before the media to scotch rumours that they had switched to the BJP.
A BJP delegation led by chief minister hopeful B.S. Yeddyurappa met governor Vajubhai Vala in the morning and expressed confidence in forming the government.
"We requested the governor to allow us to form the government. The governor said he would take an appropriate decision. We are 100 per cent confident that he will take a decision soon," Yeddyurappa said after meeting Vala.
Leaders and newly elected MLAs from the Congress and the JDS landed up at Raj Bhavan as their request for a meeting with the governor didn't elicit a response till 5pm.
Senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily, who was denied entry to Raj Bhavan, cited a Supreme Court order on inviting post-poll alliances to form the government if they can prove majority.
"The governor cannot act illegally as there are precedents and legal and constitutional provisions to invite this kind of a post-poll alliance," he said.
In the afternoon, the Congress started the process of shifting its MLAs to a holiday resort on the outskirts of Bangalore to preclude any possibility of the BJP poaching them.
However, the bus waited at the state party headquarters for around three hours for the two legislators to turn up.
The absence of Anand Singh and B. Nagendra, both from Bellary, through the day has caused a flutter at the Congress office. The duo's signatures are missing in the letter submitted to the governor.
Sources said B. Sriramulu of the BJP was in touch with Singh and Nagendra. But Sriramulu told reporters outside the BJP office that he was not in touch with any Congress or JDS member.
Former allies of the mining baron Reddy brothers, Singh and Nagendra had defected to the Congress from the BJP just before the Assembly elections.
Two of the Reddy brothers, accused in a multi-crore mining scam, have won on BJP tickets while their elder brother Gali Janardhana, a former Karnataka minister, had campaigned extensively for the party.
Congress sources said that while Singh had travelled to Rajasthan, Nagendra had surfaced and had accompanied the other party MLAs to Eagleton resort in Bedadi on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Rumours had been flying thick and fast since morning with some local channels claiming that several newly elected MLAs had ditched the Congress and the JDS.
The alliance partners denied the claim.
Two other Congress MLAs stepped out of the party's state headquarters to meet reporters and assert their support to the alliance.
The BJP suffered a blow when R. Shankar, who won on a Karnataka Pragnyavanthara Janata Party (KPJP) ticket, returned to the Congress after assuring the BJP of support in the morning.
After having promised to support the Congress on Tuesday, Shankar had on Wednesday morning met Yeddyurappa and offered to back the BJP. But later in the day, Shankar took another U-turn and declared his support to the Congress.
He presented himself before the media outside Raj Bhavan and extended his "unconditional" support to the alliance.
"I am with the Congress and hence with the alliance. It's wrong to say I have moved to the BJP," Shankar said.
H. Nagesh, a Congress-backed Independent who won from Mulbagal, has already declared his support to the Congress-JDS alliance.