The ruling coalition Janata Dal (S) and Congress government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy in Karnataka veered onto the brink of collapse on Saturday as 12 MLAs submitted their resignation.
Earlier, a group of MLAs led by former JD(S) president H. Vishwanath trouped into the Legislative Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s chamber on Saturday afternoon. But the the Speaker had left by then.
The Chief Minister and State Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao are on a private visit to the U.S. and U.K., respectively.
The JD(S)-Congress coalition’s total strength, including those who have put in their papers, is 118 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and independents-2), besides the Speaker. The BJP has 105 MLAs in the House, where the half-way mark is 113. The strength of the House is 225 including one nominated MLA.
Inputs from Karnataka Bureau, Agencies
Ugly internal politics behind instability: BJP
Rejecting the Congress’ allegation that it was trying to topple the Karnataka government, the BJP said on Saturday that the “feud” between ruling allies Congress and JD(S) is behind the fresh political instability in the State.
BJP media head and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni asserted that his party had no role in the spate of resignations by the ruling alliance MLAs in Karnataka which has raised questions over the survival of the HD Kumaraswamy-led government.
“The reality is that there is a battle for political supremacy within the Congress as well as between it and the JD(S). Siddaramaiah does not want the Kumaraswamy government to continue. This ugly internal politics is behind the instability,” he said.
Ten MLAs leave for Mumbai
Ten MLAs, who submitted their resignation, left for Mumbai late on Saturday and they are likely to stay in a hotel there, sources close to them said. They left by a chartered flight, they said.
BJP MLA C N Ashwath Narayan denied reports that he was coordinating the MLAs travel and stay in Mumbai. “The MLAs have gone on their own. BJP has nothing to do with it,” Ashwath Narayan told PTI.
Earlier in January, ahead of a crucial CLP meeting, Congress had shifted its MLAs to a resort in the State fearing poaching by BJP.
BJP trying to bring down Karnataka govt by buying MLAs: Congress
The Congress has accused the BJP of trying to bring down its coalition government in Karnataka by “buying” MLAs and asserted that the new word for the aaya ram gaya ram phenomenon is “MODI — mischievously orchestrated defections in India“.
The strong reaction of the party came after 12 legislators of the ruling Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka submitted their resignation to the Speaker.
“The new word for aaya ram gaya ram is MODI -- mischievously orchestrated defections in India. The Karnataka government which is a joint government having complete majority under our democratic setup is now being sought to be pulled down by defections and resignations,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi.
“MLAs are being bought in broad daylight. We deprecate the efforts of the BJP to buy over legislators, to pressurise legislators, to bring down an elected government in Karnataka,” he said, asserting that the BJP has made such moves in other States in the past as well.
Nothing will happen, government will continue, says Siddaramaiah
Amid a flurry of resignations by the ruling combine MLAs, senior Congress leader and coalition coordination committee chief Siddaramaiah has asserted that the government in Karnataka would continue. Mr. Siddaramaiah said AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal would arrive to hold talks with leaders. “Nothing will happen... Venugopal (AICC general secretary) will come (to Bengaluru)... nothing will happen, government will continue,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said. “How it (government) will be unstable? Resignations have to be accepted right? They have not been accepted yet.”
Mr. Siddaramaiah, who is also the CLP leader said, he will speak to MLAs. “We are trying to contact them...”
‘We know how to save our government’
"We know how to save our government. If our MLA s are poached, we will poach theirs,” Karnataka Forest Minister Satish Jarkiholi said in Belagavi on July 6.
He was replying to a question by journalists as to whether the Congress would conduct an operation to counter the BJP's ‘Operation Lotus’.
“Not just us, even the JD(S) will do it. Congress has already prepared a team for it already,” Mr. Jarkiholi said.
Meanwhile, some political leaders from Belagavi and nearby areas left for Bengaluru from the Sambra airport in Belagavi.
They included BJP MLA and former Minister Umesh Katti, BJP MLA Govind Karajol, Congress MLC Vivekrao Patil, and former MLA N.H. Konareddi.
Mr. Katti told journalists that the BJP would soon form a government in the a State. “B.S. Yeddyurappa will lead it and it will be a very good government,” Mr. Katti said. He denied allegations that BJP was destabilising the government. He alleged that former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah was responsible for the current series of events in the State. “If Siddharamaiah wants to join the BJP, we will welcome him,” Mr. Katti said.
Mr. Patil, a loyalist of MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, said the BJP would form government in the State and that he expected his leader to become the deputy CM in the BJP government. Mr. Karjol also denied allegations that BJP was orchestrating the resignations. “They are quitting due to their own internal contradictions. Why blame us?” he said.
14 MLAs have resigned so far, says Vishwanath
Former JD(S) president and senior MLA H. Vishwanath told the media that a total of 14 MLAs, including Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi, have resigned from the Legislative Assembly.
Mr. Singh and Mr. Jarkiholi have submitted their resignations earlier in the week.
After a meeting with the Governor Vajubhai Vala, a group of MLAs posed for a photograph outside the Raj Bhavan. The MLAs submitted copies of their resignations to the Governor.
Mr. Vishwanath said “crisis in governance” in the government led by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was the major reason for their resignations. He also said the coalition government has failed to meet the aspirations of the people. “The coalition government had not taken into everyone into confidence in its functioning. This has hurt us,” Mr. Vishwanath said.
BJP seeks to distance itself from resignation of MLAs
BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa has sought distance the the party from the resignations of Congress and JD(S) MLAs. “We are in no way related to the resignations of these MLAs. As we had predicted the government seems to be collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. BJP is adopting a wait and watch approach. We will take a call at a suitable time,” he said.
Deve Gowda ‘unaware’ of developments
JD(S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda claims he is unaware of the developments. He says he will discuss the issue with his legislators.
He refuses to speak on the issue; says he will speak only after the Speaker takes a decision.
11 MLAs have submitted resignation letters, says Speaker
Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar says 11 MLAs of the ruling JD(S) and Congress have tendered their resignation. He is he is not aware of the MLAs visiting his office at the Secretariat. He will into their resignations on Tuesday.
With pre-occupied official work on Monday, the Speaker says he will go to the office on Tuesday.
“No MLA has taken appointment of visiting my office”, he states. His office has taken the resignation letters. He will discharge his constitutional responsibilities.
When asked about MLAs calling on the Governor, he says, "Let them [MLAs] go to the Raj Bhavan or the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, I am not bothered".
MLAs to meet Governor
The MLAs, who stepped out of the Speaker's office, refuse to speak to the press on their next move. They reach Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Vajubhai Vala.
Eight MLAs 'resign'
As many as eight Congress and JD(S) legislators are said to have resigned from the membership of the Legislative Assembly on Saturday. They have reportedly submitted their resignations to the Assembly Secretary M K Vishalakshi.
The MLAs have also reportedly submitted resignations to Speaker’s private secretary Roopashri since the Speaker was not in his chamber.
Water Resources Minister and the Congress's ‘troubleshooter’ D.K. Shivakumar rushed to the Secretariat to request the legislators not to resign as the party is ready to look into their grievances.
Mr Shivakumar straightaway goes to the Speaker’s chamber where a dozen of MLAs have been waiting for nearly an hour to meet the Speaker.
K.C. Venugopal, AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, too is expected to reach Bengaluru by Saturday evening to take stock of the development and discuss the issues raised by legislators.
Police security to Narayanagowda's residence
The K.R. Pet police have provided security to K.C. Narayanagowda's residence at K.R. Pet town on Saturday.
The two-time JD(S) MLA from K.R. Pet Assembly segment, who is also a businessman in Mumbai, is said to have tendered his resignation on Saturday and decided to join the BJP.
Following the development, the police have stepped up the security to his residence.
Meanwhile, the JD(S) has decided to hold protests against Mr. Narayanagowda for his decision to resign and support the BJP.
Seven-time MLA Ramalinga Reddy to quit Assembly
Seven-time Congress MLA and former Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, who represented the Congress in the BTM layout constituency in Bengaluru, confirmed that he is resigning from the membership of the Assembly.
The Congress and JD(S) legislators have decided to stay put at the Speaker’s chamber till he arrives.
Political crisis erupts in Karnataka, with nearly a dozen Congress and JD(S) MLAs planning to resign from the Legislative Assembly.