Amid Congress-JDS coalition turmoil, 2 Karnataka Congress MLAs meet BJP’s SM Krishna

Congress leaders Ramesh Jarkiholi and Sudhakar met BJP leader R Ashok at SM Krishna’s residence in Bengaluru. (Photo: ANI)

Amid speculation over the longevity of ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in Karnataka following a poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections, two Congress legislatures — Ramesh Jarkiholi and Sudhakar – reportedly met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader SM Krishna on Sunday.

While Congress and JD(S) managed to win only two seats each in Karnataka in the Lok Sabha elections, BJP bagged 25 out of 28 Parliamentary seats in the state. One seat was won by an Independent candidate.

The two Congress MLAs met SM Krishna at his residence in Bengaluru. According to reports, former Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa was also present in the meeting at SM Krishna’s house.

Congress MLA from Gokak, Ramesh Jarkiholi, however, clarified that the meeting was not a political one and he had only come to meet SM Krishna to congratulate him on BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections. He also said that the meeting was just a courtesy call.

“It was not a political meeting. We wanted to wish SM Krishna Ji after BJP won 25 seats in Karnataka. It was a courtesy call,” Ramesh Jarkiholi said.

BJP leader R Ashok, who was also present in the meeting, denied having any knowledge of Congress MLAs’ presence at SM Krishna’s house and said, “I came to meet SM Krishna ji to discuss party matters. I have no friendship with Congress leaders Ramesh Jarkiholi and Sudhakar.”

Meanwhile, Independent MP from Mandya, Sumalatha Ambareesh, also met SM Krishna at his residence on Sunday. After the meeting, she said that it was her duty to meet everyone and thank them.

She said, “I will go to Mandya on May 29. I would like to give credit to everyone who has worked hard for me. It was a tough election, a lot of people did not give me a chance at all.”

Meanwhile, following the massive defeat faced by JD(S) and Congress alliance in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, JD(S) working president MS Narayan Rao issued a circular to party leaders, spokespersons, and MLAs asking them to not participate in TV debates or give any statements to the media.

Earlier on Friday, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara brushed aside the reports of trouble in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka, saying that the government was safe and stable to continue in office despite electoral reverses in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Before the Lok Sabha elections, BS Yeddyurappa had said that there is an “atmosphere” for his party to form government in the state, triggering speculations of turmoil in the coalition government in Karnataka.

He had also predicted changes in the Lok Sabha polls, favouring the BJP in the state, saying its tally in the assembly would increase with the win in the byelections. He had also claimed to have the support of three independent and smaller party legislators.

Earlier in February, HD Kumaraswamy had accused BS Yeddyurappa of luring a legislator of his ruling JD(S). Yeddyurappa had, however, denied the charges.

In January this year, Karnataka minister and senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar had accused the BJP of trying to topple the state’s coalition government and alleged that it was trying to poach its MLAs.

He also claimed that three Congress MLAs were camping in a Mumbai hotel in the “company of some BJP leaders”. The BJP, however, later said that it made no such attempts.