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Bengaluru, March 18, 2020
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh announced a hunger strike after he was taken into preventive custody by the Bengaluru Police when he tried to meet rebel Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh lodged at a resort here today.
In a tweet, Singh said, "We have been taken to the local DCP office by Bengaluru police. I demand that we must be allowed to meet our MLAs, who are in BJP's captivity. I announce my Hunger Strike, till we are allowed to meet our MLAs. We live in Democracy, not Dictatorship."
Singh was taken into preventive custody when he tried to enter the resort where 22 rebel Congress legislators from Madhya Pradesh are lodged.
"Singh was taken into preventive custody near the Ramada resort at Yelahanka when he was trying to stage a protest after he was denied entry into it to meet the rebel MLAs," a police official told IANS.
Besides Singh, nine Madhya Pradesh ministers and two party legislators were detained along with Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D. K. Shivakumar at the Amruthahalli police station in the city's northern suburb.
Heavy security has been deployed in and around the resort in the city's northern suburb since Sunday after the rebels MLAs shifted there from another resort.
"I am a Rajya Sabha candidate and I am not allowed to meet our MLAs," Singh told reporters even as the police whisked him away from the spot to the police station.
Shivakumar, who received Singh at the airport earlier in the day, said the party was united and has a political strategy to deal with the crisis.
"About 100 people, including Singh, Shivakumar and others came in a convoy and tried to barge into the resort. They were stopped at the entrance as the rebels did not want to meet them and told us not to allow them inside the resort," Rajan Kunti sub-inspector N. Muralidhar told IANS from the spot.
Other Madhya Pradesh leaders detained include state cabinet ministers Sajjan Singh Verma, Jeetu Patwari, Umang Singar, Lakhan Gangoriya, Sachin Yadav, Hersh Yadav, Lakhan Yadav, Ashok Singh Yadav and Tarun Bhanot.
Party MLAs Arif Masood and Kunal Choudhari were also detained at the police station.
"The BJP government in Karnataka is misusing power. We have our own political strategy, we know how to handle the situation. He's not alone here. I'm here. I know how to support him. But I don't want to create a law and order situation in the state," Shivakumar told reporters outside the police station.
Claiming that the rebel MLAs were under pressure, Singh hoped that they would withdraw their resignations and remain with the ruling party.
"I spoke to 5 of the MLAs on phone. They are in captivity, with their mobile phones taken away, and they are heavily guarded by the local police," Singh alleged.
"BJP's model of democracy: MLAs can't speak to CM; MLAs can't speak to their family members; MLAs can't speak to Speaker and MLAs can't speak to party leaders. They will only speak under controlled circumstances and glare of goons posted by opposition," tweeted Singh.
Singh, who flew in to Bengaluru from Bhopal to meet the rebel lawmakers, also alleged that the local police was not allowing him to meet his own party legislators.
"BJP has abducted Democracy. I am in Bengaluru to meet our MLAs. I am not allowed to meet them by Karnataka Police," Digvijaya Singh tweeted.
"I am not armed. I am not a threat to them. I am here to meet them in public view, not secretly. But the BJP wants to keep them under lock and key. They have abducted democracy," Singh said in another tweet.