Karnataka Congress legislator MTB Nagaraj on Saturday said he was reconsidering his resignation from the Assembly and would also talk to party colleague K Sudhakar about withdrawing his resignation, reported Hindustan Times. They are among the 16 legislators of the ruling alliance of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) to have stepped down since the start of this month, plunging the state into a political crisis.
Nagaraj had submitted his resignation letter to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday. After that he told reporters that he was “fed up” with politics and wished to retire from public life. None of the 16 resignations have been accepted yet.
“DK Shivakumar, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Rural Development Minister Krishna Byregowda visited my house, they are all my leaders,” Hindustan Times quoted Nagaraj as saying. “I submitted my resignation due to some differences. But these leaders told me to reconsider the resignation because I have been in the Congress for 40 years. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao have also spoken to me. I have asked them to give me some time because I have to discuss this with Sudhakar as well, who resigned along with me. I told the leaders that I will also bring him for a discussion.”
State minister Shivakumar told reporters that he met Nagaraj at midnight to convince him to reconsider his decision. “He is a loyal, sincere Congressman who has been with the party for 30 years and has stood by his party in all crisis.,” The News Minute quoted Shivakumar as saying. “We are happy he has said he will be with us and convince others to rejoin us.”
On Saturday afternoon, Nagaraj met Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah at his residence, ANI reported. Congress MLA Zameer Khan was also present at the meeting.
Efforts likely to intensify
The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) are likely to intensity their efforts to pacify the remaining 15 rebel MLAs over the weekend as Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday said he was ready for a trust vote in the Assembly to prove his majority.
If the MLAs do not return to their parties before the trust vote, the government will have the support of only 101 MLAs – assuming Nagaraj stands by his latest decision. The BJP will have the support of 107 MLAs. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has not yet scheduled the trust vote.
Most of the MLAs who resigned have been staying in a hotel in Mumbai. Shivakumar went to meet them on Wednesday but was turned away from the hotel and forced to return to Bengaluru. He and other Congress leaders have been attempting to persuade the ones who stayed back in Bengaluru. After the Assembly session proceedings on Friday, the Congress and JD(S) MLAs were moved to hotels to prevent any attempts by the BJP to poach them. The BJP did the same with its MLAs.
The Congress is also trying to convince Ramalinga Reddy, Munirathna and R Roshan Baig to stay back in the party. Reddy is a senior leader of the party and a seven-time MLA. Kumaraswamy, who belongs to the Janata Dal (Secular), is talking to at least four Congress MLAs, unidentified Janta Dal (Secular) officials told PTI.
BJP says trust vote is meaningless
Meanwhile, BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa said the coalition’s efforts to keep its MLAs would not yield any result as the fall of the government was imminent, PTI reported. “There is confusion in Congress and JD(S) due to which the MLAs are fleeing the party,” he said. “A systematic conspiracy is going on to bring the MLAs back.”
Yeddyurappa said Kumaraswamy’s confidence motion would be meaningless as his government had lost the majority in the Assembly.
Ten of the rebel MLAs had moved the Supreme Court against the delay in the speaker’s decision to accept their resignations. On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered status quo on their resignations and disqualification proceedings against them till it decides larger constitutional questions in the matter. The matter will be heard again on Tuesday.