Karnataka energy minister DK Shivakumar gets charge to guard 44 Gujarat MLAs

BENGALURU: Karnataka energy minister DK Shivakumar is in charge of looking after 44 MLAs from Gujarat, who are in a resort in the outskirts of Bengaluru till the day of the Rajya Sabha elections, August 8.

The Congress government in Karnataka and the party’s state unit have kept away from the job of guarding the MLAs. Shivakumar, who was in Singapore when the MLAs were brought to Bengaluru, deputed his brother and Bengaluru Rural MP DK Suresh initially for the task before rushing back and taking charge.

Shivakumar had lost out in his recent bid to occupy the post of the party state unit chief but has made a comeback now, after the Congress high command reportedly asked for his help in safeguarding the MLAs before the crucial RS polls, where Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel is seeking re-election.

“I have been asked to help out and I am doing all that is necessary for the sake of the party. We have not made any plans for these MLAs to tour. But we will ensure that they will be safe and our party candidate wins the Rajya Sabha seat,” Shivakumar said.

“We don’t want to get involved in this activity, particularly as it’s election year in the state,” a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee office bearer told ET.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah refrained from making any comment on the matter. When queried he just said: “It is being handled by the party.” With all the hosting left to just Shivakumar and Suresh, it has led to some humour, with neither fluent in Hindi, while most of the Gujarat MLAs can hardly speak English.

“Communication has been a problem, but we are managing,” the associate admitted. He said the Gujarat state unit of the Congress was bearing the expenses of the MLAs’ travel and stay in the resort. “The Karnataka unit and the government have not been burdened with it,” he added.

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