Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday refuted claims that he instigated MLAs of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition to resign and bring the state government down. The Congress leader said it was a false allegation.

The 14-month-old ruling coalition of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) lost a trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly on Tuesday after 99 MLAs voted in favour of it and 105 legislators against it. The trust vote was necessitated after 16 MLAs of the alliance resigned.

Siddaramaiah tweeted: “Media houses are reporting that few rebel MLAs have claimed that I instigated them to resign and destabilise our government. This is nothing but a false allegation with malafide intention. I will give them a befitting reply if they repeat the same in front of me.”

He said the rebel MLAs were trying to shift the blame on him after “widespread public backlash against them for betraying and back-stabbing both the electorate and the party”.

“Everything will be clear when the dust settles but by then they would have bitten the dust,” he said. “There were numerous baseless allegations on me even when I was [chief minister]. This is not the first & will not be the last but I have digested this venom to serve people with good intent. Time will answer everything!”

Shivaram Hebbar, one of the rebel Congress MLAs, was quoted as saying by The News Minute: “Siddaramaiah was the one who instigated us. We are still with Congress and we have nothing to do with BJP forming government.”

Soon after the trust vote, Siddaramaiah had said that those MLAs who had betrayed the coalition would “never be inducted back to our party...even if the sky is falling down”.

Siddaramaiah was the chief minister in the Congress government that ruled Karnataka till May 2018. In Assembly elections held that month, no party got a majority. The BJP was the largest party with 105 seats, followed by the Congress. The JD(S), the third largest party, agreed to form a post-poll alliance with the Congress as they were able to cross the majority mark together. However, Siddaramaiah had to let go of the chief minister’s post to make way for JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy.

The ruling coalition had a difficult run for 14 months until a mass resignation of its MLAs this month sealed its fate. After losing the trust vote, the Congress accused the BJP of carrying out “one of the most heinous” instances of horse-trading in the country to make this happen.