Bengaluru: Rebel Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav on Monday quit the party and tendered his resignation to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar.
As senior Congress leaders were gearing up to meet and discuss a seat-sharing formula with coalition partner JD(S), the MLA met the Speaker and formally resigned, even as his disqualification is pending with Kumar.
Jadhav was among the four rebel MLAs who had skipped the Congress legislative party meets in the past despite having being issued whips and show-cause notices. The Congress had on February 8 unanimously decided to initiate disqualification proceedings against the four under the anti-defection law.
However, on February 14, when the MLAs were asked to be present in order to vote on the budget, Jadhav turned up at Vidhan Souda along with Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumatahalli and said they were still a part of the Congress.
On his return, when Jadhav was asked whether he had sorted out his differences with the party, his reply was in the negative. “I am still unhappy with the party but I have put forth some demands. They are legitimate and we’ll have to see if the party agrees,” he said.
Hitting out at Jadhav, Karnataka state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said the rebel MLA had betrayed the party and was quitting for selfish reasons. “He had sold himself to the BJP but was doing some drama in order to avoid disqualification. It’s good if such people leave the party, we can’t trust them,” he said.
Rumours were abuzz since early January that Jadhav was in talks with the BJP leadership and was likely to contest from a BJP ticket in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Kalaburgi constituency, taking on leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Reports suggest that Jadhav’s resignation is also perfectly timed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Kalaburgi on March 6 and that could provide the stage for his induction into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).