Congress And JD (S) Rebels Return To Mumbai After Their Planned Trip To Goa Got Cancelled


New Delhi: The dozen-odd group of Congress and Janata Dal Secular rebels who were flown out of Karnataka last week to put them out of reach of their party bosses returned to Mumbai on Tuesday after a planned trip to Goa had to be cancelled due to traffic jams and potholes.

The lawmakers were quietly escorted out from the suburban Mumbai hotel from its rear gate on Monday evening after Congress workers started staging protests outside Sofitel hotel at Bandra Kurla Complex. They were headed for Pune.

But the trip that can take a little over three hours turned out to be unusually long due to the traffic jams caused by the heavy rains. There had been many on the Sion-Panvel highway, one of the busiest highways in the country and an important junction for vehicles headed to Pune, Goa and the southern cities of Maharashtra.

A BJP leader said the idea was to eventually take the legislators to a resort at Goa where it would have been easier to sequester them. The usual route to Goa via Konkan would have been shorter but it would still have meant an overnight journey, quite like the one that the Congress lawmakers had made when they were tucked away at a Hyderabad hotel before BS Yeddyurappa had to face his trust vote in 2018.

Either ways, the 14 legislators – whose resignation from the assembly will seal the fate of the HD Kumaraswamy government in Bengaluru – decided to camp overnight at Pune’s Corinthians Resort and Club. The plan was to take a chartered flight to Goa but they had arrived a little too late. The weather had played truant; there was a problem of visibility and landing after midnight wasn’t allowed. According to a BJP leader, they legislators took the special flight back to Mumbai.

This time, their handlers ruled out Sofitel hotel and took the MLAs to Hotel Renaissance in Powai, the hotel that had been used by the BJP to play host to Karnataka Congress’ dissident legislators in January this year.

Back at the Mumbai hotel, the legislators insisted that they will stay the course and exit the assembly. “We are not expecting any minister post,” said ST Somashekhar, one of the 14 lawmakers. The MLAs have indicated that they will stay put in Mumbai for the next two days.


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