With the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government on the brink of collapse following the resignation of 12 MLAs on Saturday, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is likely to convene an emergency meeting of the Cabinet on Monday.
The Cabinet is expected to send a resolution to Governor Vajubhai Vala, seeking postponement of the monsoon session of the legislature that is scheduled to begin on July 12.
“As of now, leaders of the JD(S)-Congress coalition feel there is a dire need to get some time to work towards strategies to save the government. In this context, the Chief Minister is considering the possibility of postponing the legislature session on the grounds that there is uncertainty as Speaker Ramesh Kumar has sought time to look into the resignations,” sources close to the Chief Minister told The Hindu .
The Speaker has said he will start looking into the resignations when he returns to his office on Tuesday. The rebel MLAs have submitted resignations to his office as he was not present when they went to meet him on Saturday.
Mr. Kumaraswamy, who returned to Bengaluru from the U.S. on Sunday night, immediately met senior Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal, Mallikarjuna Kharge and Siddaramaiah, and JD(S) leaders. He was expected to address the JD(S) Legislature Party meeting, which hadn’t started till the time of going to the press.
The meeting with the Congress leaders is learnt to have discussed the possibilities of saving the government, including the option of offering the rebels ministerial berths.
Congress leaders, including Mr. Venugopal, also held a series of meetings, which went on till late in the night, on plans to save the government. Among options, the party is mulling constituting a fresh Cabinet by instructing all its Ministers to resign.
According to sources, the party hopes this “major surgery” will help woo the rebels. The Ministers are likely to be informed about this at a breakfast meeting convened by Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara on Monday. The rebel MLAs, camping at a luxury hotel in Mumbai, remained adamant, saying there was no question of reconsidering their resignations.
Of the 13 MLAs who have submitted resignations from the Assembly, 10 are camping in Mumbai. Three others are set to join them on Monday.
The rebel Congress MLAs said there was no question of their attending the Congress Legislature Party meeting on Tuesday as they had already submitted their resignations.
Referring to speculations that some of the rebels were also pitching for a change in the chief minister in the coalition government, rebel Congress MLA S. T. Somashekhar made it clear that they had never sought such a change.
According to sources, the rebel MLAs would return to Bengaluru on Tuesday and submit their resignations in person to Speaker Ramesh Kumar as they had delivered their resignation letters to only the speaker’s office on Saturday as he was not available then. However, they are planning to return immediately to Mumbai soon after meeting the speaker, who has stated that he would look into the episode of resignations on Tuesday.
Amidst these developments, the Congress has convened a meeting of its legislators in Bengaluru on Tuesday to look at the ways and means of safeguarding the Janata Dal (S)-Congress government. The proposed meeting is expected to send strong signals to ‘rebel’ MLAs, while also keeping options open to hold talks with them.