Karnataka political crisis: Congress, JD(S) Ministers quit; cabinet reshuffle likely

A brave front: Siddaramaiah, K.C. Venugopal and Dinesh Gundu Rao in Bengaluru on Monday.

A brave front: Siddaramaiah, K.C. Venugopal and Dinesh Gundu Rao in Bengaluru on Monday.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Speaker to decide on MLAs’ resignation today

In a last ditch effort to save the coalition government in Karnataka, 21 Congress and nine JD(S) Ministers submitted their resignation to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday to give him a free hand to reshuffle the Cabinet and accommodate the “rebel” legislators.

The latest move in the political crisis came even as two Independent MLAs who were recently inducted into the Cabinet - H. Nagesh and R. Shankar - submitted their resignation. The former has announced his support for the BJP and joined the “rebel” legislators who have been camping in Mumbai before being moved to Goa, after tendering their resignations to the Speaker’s office. Mr. Shankar is also expected to join the group.

All eyes are now on Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar who is expected to look into the resignations when he returns to office on Tuesday. His decision will seal the fate of the 13-month coalition government.

Given the present number, if all the resignations are accepted, the government will be pushed into a minority with 104 members in the Assembly. The strength of the House itself will drop to 211 and a simple majority would be 106. With the support of Mr. Nagesh, the BJP’s strength would touch 106. However, Mr. Shankar has not yet announced support for the BJP.

The decision on en masse resignation of Ministers was announced by the Congress on Monday after a marathon meeting of party leaders. AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal said the move was in the larger interest of the party. Within hours, Mr. Kumaraswamy announced that his party Ministers too would resign “voluntarily.”Both parties claimed that all was not lost and they would still be able to salvage the government by addressing the issues of the “rebel” leaders and wooing them back.

Later in the day, the BJP held a legislature party meeting and announced that it would meet again on Tuesday after the Speaker’s decision on the resignations. The party has also planned protests on Tuesday demanding the resignation of Mr. Kumaraswamy, arguing that he had lost the moral right to hold on to power following the spate of resignations.

In an effort to prevent poaching of its MLAs, late on Tuesday the JD(S) moved them to a resort on the outskirts of the city. Playing down the turmoil, Mr. Kumaraswamy also held a review meeting with sugar farmers and said he was “doing his duty” irrespective of the political situation.

Meanwhile, in an interesting development, MLA Sowmya Reddy, daughter of senior Congressman Ramalinga Reddy now identified with the “rebels”, met Congress leader Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:49:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-political-crisis-congress-jds-ministers-quit-cabinet-reshuffle-likely/article28323605.ece

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