Independent Karnataka legislators H Nagesh and R Shankar on Tuesday withdrew support to the state government run by the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance, reported ANI.
This leaves the ruling coalition with 116 legislators in the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly. The majority mark is 113.
“Today is Makar Sankranti, on this day we want a change in the government,” ANI quoted R Shankar as saying. “The government should be efficient, so I am withdrawing my support today.” The legislator told News 18 that HD Kumaraswamy has “failed on several fronts”.
H Nagesh said the coalition government, which was formed to provide good and stable government, has failed, ANI reported. “There is no understanding among coalition partners,” he claimed. “So, I decided to go with BJP to install stable government and see that government perform better than the coalition.”
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he was not worried about the fate of his government, ANI reported. “If two MLAs withdraw their support, what will be the numbers?” he asked. “I’m totally relaxed. I know my strength. Whatever is going on in media in the past week, I am enjoying.”
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara reiterated that the government was not in danger. “We have been saying that the BJP is luring our MLAs through money and power, but their attempts to destabilise the government will fail,” he said.
BJP leader Ram Shinde said the two legislators must have thought of joining his party which had received the mandate “instead of those who formed unnatural alliance”, reported ANI. “I’m getting a feeling that Operation Lotus will be successful in the coming days,” he said.
“Operation Lotus” is a term the Congress has used since 2008 to refer to the BJP’s alleged attempts to lure Opposition legislators to join its camp and to guarantee the stability of its erstwhile government under BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka when he was in power then.
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling alliance have accused each other of “horse-trading”. The BJP has 104 MLAs in the Assembly.
Earlier on Monday, the Karnataka BJP flew 101 of its 104 MLAs to a hotel in Gurugram, with a legislator claiming they had gathered to strategise for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.