Karnataka crisis: Dissenting MLAs refuse to withdraw resignation

Bengaluru: H D Kumaraswamy-led government in Karnataka is reeling under political crisis as 12 MLAs (9 Congress and 3 JDS) submitted their resignations to the Speaker on Saturday. Following this, the Chief Minister went into huddle with the coalition leaders; however, the rebelling MLAs refused to withdraw their resignations.

Congress and JD(S) workers protested in front of their party offices in the State and urged the MLAs to withdraw resignation. Likewise in Mumbai, several Congress leaders held protest accusing the BJP of luring away the MLAs.

Congress MLA, Anand Singh, submitted his resignation on 1 July, and this brings the total to 13. After submitting their papers to the Speaker, 10 of the dissenting MLAs took a chartered flight to Mumbai late on Saturday night. If the resignations are accepted the coalition government may lose its majority in the assembly- currently it is 118 (Congress: 78, JD(S): 37, BSP: 1 and Independents: 2) of the total 224 members. BJP on the other hand has 105 MLAs.

Speaking to reporters, S T Somashekar, who had also given his resignation, said, “We are 10 MLAs are here, totally 13 MLAs had submitted resignation to Speaker and informed the Governor. All 13 of MLAs who have resigned are together and there is no question of us withdrawing our resignation…three more MLAsRamalinga Reddy, Munirathna and Anand Singh will join us tomorrow.”

Following this, a meeting was convened by Congress Legislative party chief where he warned the dissenting MLAs of serious consequences. Also reports of more legislators are likely to resign in the next couple of days also surfaced.

To a question about attending the CLP meeting, Somashekar said there was no question of them doing so as they had already submitted their resignations. Asked whether they would withdraw their resignations if the CM is changed, he said “we have not asked for a change in CM, nor for someone else to be made CM.” There were reports of a change of guard as an option to save the government by making veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge the Chief Minister. Kharge ruled it out, saying “false” and “flimsy” news was being spread through the media just to divide the party. “I don’t know about it. I want this alliance government to continue and go smoothly,” he said, adding he would also talk to the MLAs to withdraw their resignations He charged the BJP with trying to destabilize the “non BJP” elected governments across the country. There were also reports that Siddaramaiah may be considered for Chief Minister if JD(S) agrees, to which JD(S) leader and Minister G T Devegowda said “If the coordination committee decides Siddaramaiah should be the CM, we have no objection.. so be it.”

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy held a meeting with JDS MLAs and asked them to stay united. He later held discussions along with Congress and JDS top leaders Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, Minister D K Shivakumar, AICC General Secretary Venugopal and KPCC Working President Eshwar Khandre.

According to media reports, a cabinet reshuffle may also be considered by asking some loyalists of both parties to resign from the Ministry and make way for disgruntled MLA. The party leaders also tried to reach out to the dissenting MLAs and pacify them. The Congress’ high command has reportedly questioned state unit leaders about how they had allowed such a large number of resignations to happen, party sources said. They also specifically asked about resignations of Byrati Basavaraj, S T Somashekar and Munirathna, who are considered close to Siddaramaiah, who on his part accused the BJP of using power and money to lure the disgruntled MLAs.

Meanwhile, BJP State unit chief B S Yeddyurappa said the party was watching the developments and that they were not sanyasis to rule out the possibility of forming the government. He however, ruled out the possibility of any mid-term elections. “It has been just 13 months after the assembly election. We will not allow election to happen. Let them (Congress-JDS) give good administration. If they can’t, we are there with strength of 105 MLAs…we will not meet the Governor or go to Delhi for now. we are watching the developments,” he said.

NT Bureau