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Karnataka crisis: CM to seek postponement of session

Kumaraswamy returns to Bengaluru; meets Congress and JD(S) leaders

Youth Congress workers protesting in Mumbai on Sunday, demanding that the MLAs take back their resignations. ANI ANI

With the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government on the brink of collapse following the resignation of 12 MLAs on Saturday, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is likely to convene an emergency meeting of the Cabinet on Monday.

The Cabinet is expected to send a resolution to Governor Vajubhai Vala, seeking postponement of the monsoon session of the legislature that is scheduled to begin on July 12.

“As of now, leaders of the coalition feel there is a dire need to get some time to work to save the government. In this context, the Chief Minister is considering the possibility of postponing the legislature session on the grounds that there is uncertainty as Speaker Ramesh Kumar has sought time to look into the resignations,” sources close to the Chief Minister told The Hindu.

The Speaker has said he will start looking into the resignations when he returns to his office on Tuesday. The rebel MLAs have submitted resignations to his office as he was not present when they went to meet him on Saturday.

Mr. Kumaraswamy, who returned to Bengaluru from the U.S. on Sunday night, immediately met senior Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal, Mallikarjuna Kharge and Siddaramaiah, and JD(S) leaders. He was expected to address the JD(S) Legislature Party meeting, which hadn’t started till the time of going to the press.

Cabinet berths

The meeting with the Congress leaders is learnt to have discussed the possibilities of saving the government, including the option of offering the rebels ministerial berths.

Congress leaders, including Mr. Venugopal, also held a series of meetings, which went on till late in the night, on plans to save the government. Among options, the party is mulling constituting a fresh Cabinet by instructing all its Ministers to resign.

According to sources, the party hopes this “major surgery” will help woo the rebels. The Ministers are likely to be informed about this at a breakfast meeting convened by Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara on Monday. The rebel MLAs, camping at a luxury hotel in Mumbai, remained adamant, saying there was no question of reconsidering their resignations.

More resignations in Cong., Scindia, Deora step down

Looking forward to playing national role: Mumbai leader

In a fresh spree of resignations, senior Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia and Milind Deora resigned from their posts.

The resignations come smack in the middle of the Karnataka crisis and at a time when the party leadership is coping with the resignation of its president Rahul Gandhi, owning up responsibility for the Lok Sabha election débâcle.

Mr. Scindia was general secretary in charge of western Uttar Pradesh, while Mr. Deora was heading the Mumbai Congress. Both had lost their seats in the Lok Sabha election.

Hard decisions

The two resignations are in line with Mr. Gandhi’s comment in his open letter: “Rebuilding the party requires hard decisions and numerous people will have to be made accountable for the failure of 2019.”

“Accepting the people’s verdict and taking accountability, I had submitted my resignation as General Secretary of AICC to Shri @RahulGandhi. I thank him for entrusting me with this responsibility and for giving me the opportunity to serve our party,” Mr. Scindia tweeted.

Mr. Deora said he was looking forward to playing a role at the national level to help stabilise the party. He recommended establishment of a provisional collective leadership, comprising three senior leaders, to oversee the party’s city unit till the Maharashtra Assembly election, which is due later this year.

New realities

He told reporters that the political realities had changed since the Lok Sabha election results, and all of them had to get ready for the roles that these times demanded.

Mr. Deora had expressed his desire to quit after meeting Mr. Gandhi in New Delhi on June 26. “I had accepted MRCC presidentship in the interest of uniting the party. I felt I should also resign after meeting Rahul Gandhi,” he said. Mr. Deora was appointed president of the Mumbai Congress before the Lok Sabha election.

The resignations come at a time when the Congress is yet to settle the question who will lead the party. A Congress Working Committee meeting is likely to be called by next week to deliberate on the issue.

The developments coincide with the crisis in the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka. “The crisis can be clearly averted if we have a strong person at the Centre who could negotiate with the dissenting Congress MLAs,” a senior Karnataka Congress leader said.

Insiders claim that the dissent had been brewing for the last two months but no one interceded.

More MLAs will quit today, says BJP

As Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy returned home, the BJP has decided to intensify ‘Operation Lotus’ from Monday.

“Six to eight more [ruling] coalition MLAs are ready to tender their resignations. They will do so to the Speaker’s office from Monday,” a senior BJP leader said. The second phase of resignations may include senior leaders and Ministers, sources said.

These resignations are expected to put pressure on Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar to accept all of them, BJP leaders argue. While the BJP believes the Speaker has little option but to accept the resignations, party strategists are ready with a Plan-B. “If the Speaker does not accept the resignations by Wednesday, we will be forced to move a no-confidence motion against him, for which we need to give 12-day notice,” a senior leader said.

Double blow for man from Assam

In detention after being declared a foreigner; family counts days for Supreme Court hearing

Azizul Hoque

Paralysis robbed Azizul Hoque of a livelihood even before the authorities snatched his identity as an Indian more than two years ago, his family members say.

They are now counting the days for the next hearing in the Supreme Court, which sought replies from the Centre and the Assam government on how Mr. Hoque, 41, came to be declared a foreigner and lodged in a detention centre on March 24, 2017.

Family hopeful

Anas Tanwir, handling the case, said the court had on July 3 given the Union and the State governments two weeks to reply.

“That means they have to reply by July 17, right? And we can hope for a hearing by the Supreme Court soon after,” Baharul Islam, Mr. Hoque’s elder brother, told The Hindu from their village Singiapathar in Nagaon district of central Assam, about 140 km east of Guwahati.

Mr. Islam, in his late 40s, could not recall when the Assam police’s border wing sent a notice to his brother. The border wing is tasked with detecting and deporting foreigners and refers cases to the Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) for deciding the fate of a suspect. “It was 12-13 years ago. He went to the police when summoned about 10 years ago before an illness made him paralysed,” said Mr. Islam, who sells vegetables in a nearby town.

“I stay away from home most of the time. But Azizul and many others in my family are always at home. They said they gave him notice thrice, but none of us received it. They took him to the Tezpur Central Jail’s detention centre out of the blue,” he said.

‘Doubtful’ tag

The problem for Mr. Hoque began in 1997, when for the first time his name figured in the voters’ list but with the ‘D’ (doubtful) tag that indicated he was suspected to be an illegal immigrant. None of his three elder siblings — sister Hafiza Khatun and eldest brother Khairul Islam — are D-voters.

The name of Mr. Hoque, as those of everyone else in his family, was included in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) published in July 2018.

He was put in the additional list of 1.02 lakh NRC-excluded people published on June 26.

Father in voters’ list

“Our father Abdur Rahman’s name is in the 1965 voters’ list. Our grandfather Pashan Ali was granted land patta (deed) in 1940. Why should our youngest brother be singled out as a foreigner? This is just harassment because of the language we speak and religion we follow,” Mr. Islam said.

Members of Mr. Hoque’s family said they have promised him that he would be brought back home soon. They are pinning hopes on the Supreme Court for his release sooner.

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