Congress President Rahul Gandhi (left) with JD(S)‘s HD Kumaraswamy. (Photographer: Manvender Vashist/PTI)

JD(S)-Congress Government Under Threat As 14 MLAs Submit Resignation

Fourteen members of Karnataka’s legislative assembly of the ruling Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress alliance have submitted their resignation to the Speaker, putting a question mark on the survival of the 13-month-old government.

If the resignations are accepted, the ruling coalition’s strength will be reduced to 104 and it will lose majority in the 224-member Assembly.

The crisis, which had been brewing ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party swept the parliamentary polls in the state, deepened as 13 Congress and JD(S) Members of Legislative Assembly reached the Speaker's office to put in their papers and later met Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday.

After meeting the Governor, JD(S) MLA AH Vishwanath said, "Fourteen MLAs from Congress and JD(S), including Anand Singh, have submitted resignation from the Assembly to the Speaker...we also brought the matter to the notice of the governor."

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.

Singh submitted his resignation to the Speaker earlier this week.

"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 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.

Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who was not in his office when the legislators went there Saturday, confirmed the resignations and said "whether the government will fall or survive" would be decided "in the Assembly".

As a last-ditch bid, Congress's "trouble shooter" and Minister DK Shivakumar met the legislators and tried to convince them.

The JD(S)-Congress coalition's total strength, including those who have put in their papers, is 118 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP has one, and there are two independent legislators), besides the Speaker.

The BJP has 105 MLAs in the House, whereas the half-way mark is 113.

The Congress MLAs who were seen at the Speaker's office included:

  • Ramesh Jarkiholi- Gokak constituency
  • Pratap Gowda Patil- Maski constituency
  • Shivram Hebbar- Yellapur constituency
  • Mahesh Kumathalli- Athani constituency
  • BC Patil- Hirekerur constituency
  • Byratibasavaraj- KR Puram constituency
  • ST Soma Shekar- Yashwanthpur constituency
  • Ramalinga Reddy- BTM Layout constituency

The JD(S) MLAs are:

  • AH Vishwanath from the Hunsur constituency who recently resigned as the party's state chief.
  • Narayana Gowda- K R Pet constituency .
  • Gopalaiah- Mahalakshmi Layout constituency.

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 office and take further action in accordance with rules."

To questions on the future of the government, Kumar 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..."

The ruling coalition leaders had expressed fear that the BJP would try to destabalise the government after the Lok Sabha election results. The Congress and the JD(U) 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.

Also read: Karnataka JD(S) Chief AH Vishwanath Quits, Flays Functioning Of Coalition

Bloomberg Quint

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