The Karnataka government has plunged into a crisis with eleven MLAs of the ruling Congress-JD(S) combine deciding to resign. These include eight Congress and three JD(S) lawmakers.
Among the MLAs are former Home minister Ramalinga Reddy, Pratapgowda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, H Vishwanath, Muniratna. The presence of these senior leaders in the rebel camp means the attempt to topple the coalition government has reached the final stage.
The MLAs were unable to submit their resignations to the Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar as he had gone to hospital to visit an ailing relative. The MLAs, at the time of writing this copy, are waiting for the Speaker in his office at Vidhana Soudha.
The trigger for the mass resignations was the induction of two Independents as ministers in Kumaraswamy cabinet last month. That meant the senior Congress and JD(S) MLAs no longer could hope to fulfil their ministerial ambitions.
On July 1, two Congress MLAs – Ramesh Jharkiholi from Belagavi region and Anand Singh from Ballari region – resigned. But the resignations have not yet been accepted by the Speaker.
How do the numbers stack up. With the resignation of the two Congress MLAs, the effective strength of the Karnataka assembly has fallen from 224 to 222. The Congress after the two exits has 77 MLAs (including the Speaker), JD(S) has 37 MLAs and two independents and one BSP MLA support the government. That makes the total 117.
If the number of resignations swell to 13, it will bring the Congress-JDS strength down to 104. Importantly, the overall strength of the House will fall to 209. The halfway mark will then be 105, which is exactly the number the BJP has. BS Yeddyurappa will then have one MLA more than the Congress-JD(S) combine. The BJP also believes if the ruling combine knows the government is collapsing, more legislators will desert the ship.
Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is not in the country at the moment. He is on a private visit to the USA. Congress party’s troubleshooter DK Shivakumar has rushed to Vidhana Soudha to speak to the rebel lawmakers. But so far the Congress legislators have refused to pay heed to Shivakumar’s request not to rock the boat.
After meeting the Governor Vajubhai Vala, ten of the rebel MLAs flew to Mumbai where they are staying at Sofitel Hotel.
Meanwhile the Speaker has confirmed his office has received the 11 resignation letters and he will meet the MLAs on Tuesday.
(Story to be updated)