11 MLAs from Cong, JD(S) quit; BJP ready to stake claim if K’taka Govt falls
Crisis hit the Congress-JD(S)-ruled Karnataka Government hard on Saturday as 11 MLAs from both the parties tendered their resignation when both Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and State Congress chief Gundu Rao are abroad. Kumaraswamy is away to the USA and Rao is in the United Kingdom.
With the latest resignations — some due to not getting ministerial berths — the total number of legislators who have put in their papers stands at 13, with two Congress MLAs having resigned earlier. If the resignations are accepted, the Congress-JD(S) Government will be reduced to a minority.
In all, 10 Congress MLAs and three of their Janata Dal (Secular) counterparts have submitted their resignations to the Speaker’s office so far. Of them, 10 also met Governor Vajubhai Vala.
However, JD(S) leader H Vishwanath claimed that in all 14 MLAs have resigned and did so “because the Karnataka Government had failed to meet the expectations of the people”.
Of the 13 MLAs, 10 left for Mumbai later on while 3 Congress legislators Ramalinga Reddy (four-time Minister), ST Somashekar and Munirathna stayed back. The 10 MLAs are likely to go to Goa from there.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who was not in his office when the legislators went there, said that 11 resignations have reached his office. “I went to the hospital to visit a relative. I won’t be coming to office on Monday but will return to work on Tuesday,” he said. It means, the Congress-JD(S) have time till Tuesday by when Kumaraswamy is scheduled to return.
BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa denied any BJP role in it but said, “We are closely watching political developments in Karnataka. One thing I can say is that people are not ready for elections. Elections are a burden on the State exchequer. If situation arises we’ll definitely explore constitutional provisions to form next Government.”
That Yeddyurappa will again be the BJP’s CM candidate in case things come to such a pass was made clear by Union Minister and State leader DV Sadananda Gowda.
Earlier this week, two Congress legislators Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarikholi had resigned. While the Congress went into a huddle in Delhi, it dispatched its Karnataka incharge KC Venugopal to Bengaluru to tide over the latest crisis.
Accusing the BJP, Randeep Surjewala, Congress’ chief spokesperson, said, “A new symbol of horse trading politics has emerged in the country, MODI — Mischievously Orchestrated Defections in India.”
Karnataka Minister and Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar, who since day one of the formation of the alliance Government made efforts to keep the MLAs intact, yet again attempted to pacify his party MLAs, including senior leader Ramalinga Reddy, and urged not to resign when some of them were headed to the Governor’s residence. He even tore their resignation papers and later admitted as much daring action against him.
Ramalinga Reddy has been sulking ever since the coalition Government was formed as he felt he had been sidelined and not given a place in the Cabinet. Reddy had been airing his grievances and many senior Congress and JD(S) MLAs, including R Roshan Baig and AH Vishwanath, had supported him.
The Congress and the JD(S) had entered a post-poll alliance in 2018 after the BJP emerged as the single-largest party in the Assembly elections.
The coalition Government has been shaky since day one with legislators of both the parties attacking each other on many occasions. The ruling coalition leaders had expressed fear that the BJP would try to destabalise the Government after the Lok Sabha election results in which BJP bagged 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka.
While an urgent meeting was convened in Delhi Congress HQ, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Shivakumar too called for an emergency meeting of MLAs and corporators.
Senior Congress leader and coalition coordination committee chief K Siddaramaiah asserted that the Government in Karnataka would continue. Interestingly, three of the 10 Congress MLAs have demanded that Siddaramaiah be made the Chief Minister.
Sunday, 07 July 2019 | PNS | New Delhi/Bengaluru
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