Soon after senior Digvijaya Singh was taken into preventive custody in Bengaluru on Wednesday, the Congress leader announced a hunger strike. Singh was detained by police outside a hotel in Bengaluru after he tried to meet the 22 rebel Congress MLAs lodged at a resort in the city. Besides Singh, nine other Madhya Pradesh ministers and two party legislators were also detained with Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president DK Shivakumar at the Amruthahalli police station in the city's northern suburb.
Taking to Twitter, Digvijaya 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."
According to a police official, 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.
Meanwhile, heavy security has been deployed in and around the resort in the city's northern suburb since Sunday after the rebels MLAs shifted 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 said.
Other detained Madhya Pradesh leaders 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 the phone. They are in captive, with their mobile phones taken away and 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 the opposition," tweeted Singh.
Singh, flew into Bengaluru from Bhopal to meet the rebel lawmakers, also alleged that the local police were 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.
In the apex court when the matter comes up for hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal will appear for the Madhya Pradesh government and Abhishek Singhvi for Speaker Narmada Prasad Prajapati.
The BJP has moved the top court for holding a floor test in Assembly as it thinks the Kamal Nath government has lost its majority.