New Delhi: In poring rain, Congress leader and Karnataka Water Resources Minister, DK Shivakumar, camped outside Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center Hotel on July 10 till he was detained by the Mumbai Police.
Shivakumar was trying to meet the rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs staying at the hotel, who hold the key to saving the government in Karnataka. “Even if I collapse here without food, I don’t care. There is no question of leaving this place,” he had told reporters.
होटल के बाहर शांतिपूर्ण तरीके से मीडिया से बात करने के दौरान हमें पुलिस हिरासत में ले लिया गया है।
जिस तरह सत्ता का दुरुपयोग किया जा रहा है वह बेहद शर्मनाक है। pic.twitter.com/89KPZDEmPS
— Milind Deora (@milinddeora) July 10, 2019
This is not the first time Shivakumar has rendered this yeoman service for the his party. Here are three occasions when the leader proved to be the Man Friday for the Congress.
2002: Saved Vilasrao Deshmukh government in Maharashtra
Shivakumar was the man who saved the Vilasrao Deshmukh-led Congress government from collapsing in Maharashtra in 2002. Fearing a defeat, Deshmukh had moved his MLAs to Karnataka, then under Chief Minister SM Krishna. Krishna entrusted the responsibility of keeping them safe to Shivakumar. He hosted them for a week at Eagleton Resort, and later moved them back to Mumbai on the day of the trust vote.
2017: Organised the stay of 44 Congress MLAs from Gujarat in Bengaluru
Ahead of Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, Shivakumar had organised the stay of 44 Congress MLAs in Bengaluru even as he was raided by the income-tax department. Shivakumar’s efforts made sure none of the MLAs was poached by the BJP, and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha with their votes. Sources said three other senior ministers had been given the job before Shivakumar, but they had all refused, fearing retaliatory I-T raids from the BJP government.
2018: Brought missing MLAs back
After the Assembly elections delivered a fractured mandate in Karnataka in 2018 and Congress-JD(S) cobbled up a coalition with a wafer-thin majority, the responsibility of keeping the flock togther was once again entrusted to Shivakumar.
He first put up the 116 Congress-JD(S) MLAs at the Eagleton resort, Bengaluru, for three days, and then tried to fly them to Hyderabad. After the aircraft was refused permission to fly, Shivakumar moved them to the destination in buses. Besides ensuring that no Congress MLA switched sides, he even brought two ‘missing’ MLAs — Pratap Gouda Patil and Anand Singh — back into the party.
The Congress-JD(S) government has slumped into crisis following the resignation of 14 MLAs from the membership of the state Assembly last week. The state Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member Assembly is 113. The coalition is making all efforts to protect its government which seems to have fallen short of a majority.
Also watch: Congress’ Worst Crisis Since Independence?