Bengaluru: The JDS-Congress government in Karnataka plunged into a crisis on Saturday with 13 MLAs of the alliance submitting their resignation to the Speaker.
The ruling coalition, which has 118 members, faces the risk of losing the majority in the 224-member Assembly if the resignations are accepted.
The crisis, which had been brewing ever since the BJP swept the parliamentary polls in the State, deepened as the group of MLAs reached the Speaker’s office to put in their papers and later met Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan.
“Fourteen MLAs from Congress and JDS, including Anand Singh, have submitted resignation from the Assembly to the Speaker,” JDS MLA AH Vishwanath said after meeting the Governor.
However, Assembly secretariat sources said a total of 13 MLAs have put in their papers, including Singh who submitted his resignation to the Speaker earlier this week.
Vishwanath accused the coalition government led by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of failing in its duty and denied that the BJP was behind the revolt. “The government failed to coordinate with the MLAs…and take them along. It has also failed to live up to the expectations of the people,” he said. On the charge that the BJP was trying to poach MLAs to destabilise the government through “Operation Lotus (BJP’s poll symbol)”, he said it is “a figment of your imagination”. “There is no BJP angle to it. We are all seniors. No operation can happen…we are resigning voluntarily against the apathy of the government,” he said.
The JD(S)-Congress coalition’s total strength, including those who have put in their papers, is 118 (Congress: 78, JDS: 37, BSP: 1 and Independents: 2), besides the Speaker.
The BJP has 105 MLAs in the House.
The MLAs who were seen at the Speaker’s office are Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Pratap Gowda Patil (Maski), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur), Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), BC Patil (Hirekerur), Byratibasavaraj (KR Puram), ST Soma Shekar (Yashwanthpur) and Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout) of the Congress.
The JD(S) MLAs are AH Vishwanath (Hunsur), who recently resigned as the party’s State chief, Narayana Gowda (KR Pet), and Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout).
Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who was not in his office when the legislators went there Saturday, said “whether the government will fall or survive” would be decided “in the Assembly”.
The Speaker told reporters, “11 of them have submitted resignation letters. I told officials to take the letters and issue acknowledgement… on Tuesday I will go to the office and take further action in accordance with rules.”
Later, Congress MLA Munirathna (Rajarajeshwari Nagar) put in his papers, the Assembly secretariat sources said. He was also seen with the rebel MLAs outside the Raj Bhavan.
To questions on the future of the government, the Speaker said, “Let’s wait and see, I have nothing to do with it… Whether the government will fall or survive, it will be decided in the Assembly…”
As a last-ditch bid, Congress’s “troubleshooter” and Minister DK Shivakumar met the legislators and tried to convince them.
The ruling coalition leaders had expressed fear that the BJP would try to destabilise the government after the Lok Sabha election results. The Congress and the JD(S) managed to win just one seat each in the State having 28 Lok Sabha constituencies.
The BJP bagged 25 seats and an Independent supported by it won from Mandya.
In the meantime, people of Karnataka are despairing over the political instability in the State.