DK Shivakumar, the man known for wooing the disgruntled MLAs to bring them in concurrence with the party line is frazzled as he isn’t able to replicate his set model. The perfect pattern of political maneuvering called “resort politics” which he is well adept at, has failed to give him the desired results this time; as unfortunately for him, he hasn’t been given a chance to exercise it.
It involves a simple practice of rounding up all the MLAs, disgruntled or on the verge of it, and putting them up in the most luxurious of resorts. There, the MLAs are blocked from contacting anyone, or even switching their allegiance so abide by the party’s interests. The strange sounding technique is extremely effective. Obviously, the fact that Shivakumar owns plenty of resorts is an added factor in the plan’s efficiency.
This time around, the MLAs in Karnataka seem to have outsmarted Shivakumar. Once step ahead of him, 10 disgruntled MLAs of the Congress- JD(S) coalition, immediately after tendering their resignation to the speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, rushed off to Mumbai in a private jet where they have been staying at the Hotel Renaissance Powai. DK Shivakumar thus, couldn’t get his hands on the MLAs.
Not one to give up easily, especially when Congress’ entire future in the state lies on those MLAs, Shivakumar decided to pay them a visit at their hotel on Wednesday. In an embarrassing turn of events, he was led away by the Mumbai Police from the Renaissance Hotel.
Moreover, slogans of “Go back, Go back – Shivakumar go back” were also raised by the supporters of the rebel MLAs.
Just before being escorted from the hotel premises, Shivakumar stated, “I’ve booked a room here [Renaissance Hotel]. My friends are staying here. There has been a small problem, we’ve to hold negotiations. We can’t go for a divorce immediately. There is no question of threatening, we love and respect each other.”
However the “friends” were in no mood to talk to him and prior to this, they had written to the Mumbai Police demanding protection from any visiting colleagues. Late Tuesday night, they had appealed for additional security when it had been anticipated that CM Kumaraswami and DK Shivakumar might pay them a visit.
Addressing the letter to the Mumbai Commissioner of Police, the Karnataka Congress-JD(S) MLAs said, “We are staying at Hotel Renaissance Powai in Mumbai. We have heard HD Kumaraswamy and DK Shivakumar are going to storm the hotel. We feel threatened. Do not allow them to enter hotel premises.”
The letter was signed by Shivram Hebbar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, H Vishwanath, Byrati Basavraj, S T Somshekar, Mahesh Kumutali, Gopalaiyya and Narayan Gowda. The MLAs are extremely adamant in their decision to not talk to any representative of the Congress- JD(S) coalition.
Offering security and support to the threatened MLAs, the Mumbai Police stated that “Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar will not be allowed inside the hotel where 10 rebel Karnataka Congress-JD(S) MLAs are staying”.
The Dy. Commissioner of Police has also has also invoked section 144 of the CRPC which has prevented any public meeting or assembly of five or more people within the jurisdiction of the Powai Police station from 9th July to 12th July, thereby deeming any unwarranted activity by the Congress- JD(S) as illegal. Thus, if Shivakumar now attempts to compromise the security and will of the MLAs, he may be arrested under section 188 of the IPC.
Shivakumar’s inability to pull his “resort politics” stunt has tied his hands. The powerful businessman has played the game for a long time and has emerged victorious every time. He started the whole pattern back in 2002 when he was a mere nobody. By saving the Congress government in Maharashtra by hoarding the MLAs to the Eagleton Resort, Shivakumar hit the deadlines and also cemented a relationship with the Gandhis. 15 years later, by 2017, Shivakumar had perfected his play. After the Karnataka voters delivered a fractured mandate in 2017, Shivakumar again kept the Congress MLAs in the Eagleton resort for three days and made sure none switched sides.
If DK Shivakumar thought his resort politics would save the day for Congress once again, he clearly miscalculated. Going to Mumbai to try and meet the rebel MLAs was a desperate measure. The MLA’s are well aware of his play and have dodged it perfectly.
The fact that for the first time, DK Shivakumar has failed to save the government through ‘resort politics’ shows that the coalition government is really out of options now and there are not many options available for them to stop or even stall the impending collapse.