Bengaluru: The ruling Congress in Karnataka on Friday decided to take legal action against its four 'rebel' legislators for defying the party whip to attend the 10-day Budget Session of the Assembly and skipping its legislature party meeting here.
"We have decided to take legal action against the four MLAs who defied the party whip to attend the Budget Session of the Assembly and remained away from Friday's special legislature party meeting here," Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah told reporters here.
The four legislators are Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), Umesh Jadhav (Chincholi) and B. Nagendra (Ballari).
Though the four responded to the second notice Siddaramaiah served on them on Thursday for skipping the first two days of the ongoing Budget Session since Wednesday, the former Congress chief minister said the unanimous opinion of the CLP was for legal action against them under the anti-defection law, as sufficient opportunity was given to them to fall in line.
"All the four legislators have written to me informing their inability to attend the ongoing session till February 15.
"Jharkiholi replied that he had a wedding to attend, Kumathalli said he was unwell, Jadhav explained he was pre-occupied and Nagendra that he was held up with personal work," Siddaramaiah said.
In response to the first notice served on them on January 18 for skipping the CLP meeting on that day, the four members, however, claimed they were loyal to the Congress and would not leave the party.
"But when I wrote back to them asking to meet me personally and explain their stand for staying away from the CLP meeting, they remained defiant and did not meet me so far," said Siddaramaiah.
In the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated from the Anglo-India community, the Congress has 80 MLAs, including the Speaker, JD-S 37, BJP 104 and the remaining are an Independent and one each from the BSP and the KPJP, a regional outfit.