HDK back home; hectic efforts on to save coalition Govt in Karnataka
Amid resignation drama by 13 of their MLAs, senior leaders of Congress and JD(S) are making hectic efforts to save the coalition Government by bringing back some rebel lawmakers who are staying put in a five start hotel in Mumbai. The Karnataka Assembly session is to begin on July 12 and Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar is yet to take a decision on the resignation of the MLAs.
Straight after returning from New York, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy held a series of meetings with leaders of both JD(S) and Congress. In the meeting held at a posh Bengaluru hotel, Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal and party’s troubleshooter DK Shivakumar were present.
Leaders from both the camps are hopeful that some of the rebels will take back their resignation and the coalition Government will survive — at least for the time being. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda also held meeting throughout the day to protect his son’s chair.
Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah, who has been accused of triggering the crisis, said, “There is no threat to the coalition Government. It is safe.” Another senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the party is still in touch with the rebels.
Straight after landing in Bengaluru this evening, Kumaraswamy got into a meeting with JD(S) national president Gowda, Deputy CM G Parameshwara and other senior Congress leaders at the Taj West End hotel in the city.
Earlier in the day, Congress’s trusted troubleshooter DK Shivakumar met Gowda at his residence.
The Congress workers held a protest outside party office in the city asking Congress MLAs to take back their resignations.
“They’ve (JDS) called a meeting of their party leaders. We’ll also call our party leaders and sort out this issue. I’m confident things will cool down immediately. In interest of nation and both parties we’ve to run the Government smoothly. I’m confident MLAs will come back,” Congress’s Shivakumar was quoted as saying by ANI.
As Congress accused BJP Central leadership of engineering defections from the Congress-JD(S), the BJP asked it to set its house in order and attributed disaffections within the State Government were on account of the “power struggle” between Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and current incumbent HD Kumaraswamy.
The HD Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-Congress Government in Karnataka is facing a survival test with several Congress and JD(S) MLAs tendering their resignation to the Speaker who has yet not accepted their resignations.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who was not in his office when 13 of the rebel legislators of the coalition went there to put in their papers on Saturday, has said, “Whether the Government will fall or survive” would be decided “in the Assembly”.
Congress has convened a meeting of the legislators on July 9 when it will be clear whether it has been able to bring back the rebel MLAs. The party has said strict action will be taken against MLAs who miss the legislature party meeting on July 9. Congress leader KC Venugopal and Dinesh Gundu Rao will also be present in the meeting.
Excluding the Speaker, the strength of Karnataka Assembly is 224 that makes the majority number at 113. BJP is the largest party with 105 MLAs, Congress has 78 and JD(S) 37 MLAs. Besides these, the BSP and KPJP have one MLA each. The Karnataka Assembly also has an Independent MLA and one MLA is nominated by the Government.
BJP Lok Sabha member from Karnataka and Union Parliamentary Minister Pralhad Joshi on Sunday rubbished Congress claim that BJP was behind the destabilisation and attributed crisis in the State Government on account of “leaderless” Congress Central leadership losing control of its Karnataka unit which he claimed was functioning in an “autonomous manner”.
After 13 MLAs of the ruling JD(S)-Congress alliance submitted their resignation letters, former Union Minister and veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge alleged the role of BJP Central leaders in the development and efforts to topple the Karnataka Government.
He accused BJP of engineering defections and shifting MLAs to Mumbai. The Congress leader said BJP’s attempts to “destabilise” the Karnataka Government was akin to those made by the saffron party in West Bengal, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Bihar and Jharkhand.
After putting in their papers, 10 Karnataka MLAs boarded a chartered flight to Mumbai and arrived at the hotel there late on Saturday night, sources close to them said. Karnataka Congress MLA Mahendra Singhi and Maharashtra BJP legislator Prasad Lad were seen at the hotel on Sunday morning.
The BJP Minister, however, put the instability in the coalition Government on what he called rudderless Central Congress leadership.
“All this is happening because the Congress has become leaderless and rather than blaming others, they should put their house in order first,” Joshi said.
There is complete “anarchy” in Congress and its Karnataka unit is “functioning like an independent entity as Central leadership has no say in the State unit,” Joshi, a former chief of the State BJP unit, said
The crisis, which had been brewing ever since the BJP swept the parliamentary polls in the State, deepened as 13 Congress and JD(S) MLAs submitted their resignation to the Speaker.
The Congress and the JD(S) managed to win just one seat each in the State having 28 Lok Sabha constituencies. The BJP bagged 25 seats and an Independent supported by it won from Mandya.
Stating that the resignation of MLAs is a “game plan” of Siddaramaiah, Joshi said, “The current political crisis is actually an outcome of power struggle between Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy.”
On one side Siddaramaiah wants to destabilise the Government and on the other, Congress leader DK Shivakumar is working to save it, the BJP lawmaker from Dharwad in Karnataka said.