Karnataka crisis: Assembly Speaker set to consider resignations of rebel MLAs today
If the Speaker accepts the resignations, the government will lose its majority since it no longer has the support of the two independent MLAs.
Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar will return to his office in Bengaluru on Tuesday and is likely to decide on the resignation letters of 14 disgruntled MLAs of the ruling coalition in the state. The rebels had submitted their letters to Kumar’s office last week, putting the 13-month-old Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in jeopardy. He will meet the MLAs later in the day.
On Monday, both independent MLAs – H Nagesh and R Shankar – also withdrew support from the government, making the majority mark seem tougher to achieve. If the speaker accepts their resignations, the government will lose its majority as the Bharatiya Janata Party has claimed to have the support of Nagesh and Shankar. The BJP has denied the Congress’ allegation that it orchestrated the resignations.
The BJP will have support of 107 members with the support of the independent MLAs. The Congress will be left with 68 and the JD(S) with 34 if the resignations are accepted – a total of 103 seats with the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Meanwhile, all 30 ministers – 21 of the Congress and nine of the JD(S) – stepped down from the Cabinet on Monday to accommodate the rebel MLAs in a bid to save the government. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is expected to name a new Cabinet soon.
HD Kumaraswamy, who returned from a 10-day trip to the United States on Sunday night, insisted the problem would be resolved and his government would run smoothly, ANI reported. The BJP has called for his resignation.
The rebel MLAs, who had moved to a hotel in Mumbai on Sunday, were joined by Nagesh and Shankar on Monday. They were later moved to a resort in Goa, unidentified officials of the BJP told The Indian Express. The JD(S) MLAs are in a resort near Bengaluru. The Congress has written to the Speaker, asking him not to accept MLAs’ resignations, reported News9.
“Some of the MLAs have some grievances, some of them are talking about the expansion of the ministry [Cabinet],” All India Congress Committee General Secretary KC Venugopal said. “Those who have resigned should come back and strengthen the party. We think they will definitely return and we are confident the government will continue and then this will be the sixth failure of the BJP within one year to destabilise the government.”
Congress leader Siddaramaiah said: “I want to suggest on behalf of the Congress to all MLAs who have resigned because they were not made ministers and those looking to defect to the BJP that we will address their problems and resolve them and they should not take any desperate decisions. After the reshuffle, we will try to ensure another reshuffle to accommodate interests.”
He claimed he had established contact with the rebel MLAs and that they seemed to be in a mood to relent, The Indian Express reported.