Two more Karnataka legislators resigned on Wednesday even as Congress’ troubleshooter DK Shivakumar has been trying to meet the rebel MLAs outside the Mumbai hotel since morning, PTI reported. With these resignations, the number of MLAs who have stepped down has gone up to 16.
The resignations of two more Congress MLAs – Housing Minister MTB Nagaraj and State Pollution Control Board Chairman K Sudhakar – was followed by a high drama in the third floor of Vidhana Soudha or the State Secretariat, The Hindu reported.
As soon as the MLAs submitted their resignations to the Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, some Congress leaders reportedly took away Sudhakar into Minister KJ George’s room in an apparent effort to win him back into the party. Nagaraj, however, had left the place by then.
Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao were among those who surrounded Sudhakar. Soon after, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had also entered the room.
The Bharatiya Janata Party protested the “manhandling of an MLA” in the corridors of power, without taking Sudhakar’s name. BJP State President BS Yeddyurappa called all this “goondaism.”
“As in the case of other MLAs, law will take its own course,” Speaker Ramesh Kumar told ANI as he confirmed their resignations. “The law cannot deviate from person to person, it is uniform for one and all.”
Nagaraj told reporters that he was “fed up” with politics and wished to retire from public life, PTI reported. “I don’t want any ministerial position or anything. I am fed up with politics,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency.
The ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition faces the threat of losing majority in the Assembly if the resignations are accepted as its current tally is 116 in the 224-member House. If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted by the Speaker, the tally will be reduced to 100.
Of the 16 MLAs who have resigned, 13 are from Congress and three are from Janata Dal (Secular).
Earlier in the day, Mumbai Congress leader Milind Deora and Shivakumar were detained by the Mumbai Police while he was waiting to meet Karnataka’s rebel MLAs at the hotel in Powai locality in which they are staying. On Tuesday, the rebel MLAs had written to the Mumbai police commissioner, claiming that their lives were under threat from Shivakumar.
JD(S) chief HD Devegowda said the situation was “worse than Emergency” and he had not seen anything like it in 60 years of public life, PTI reported.