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Karnataka political crisis live: Cabinet reshuffle likely, JD(S) cancels Kodagu resort booking

The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government is on the brink of collapse following the resignation of rebel MLAs. Twelve legislators, nine from the Congress and three from the JD(S), had resigned on Saturday.

July 08, 2019 11:49 am | Updated 11:47 pm IST

Karnataka Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, K.C. Venugopal and Dinesh Gundu Rao speaking to the media on July 8, 2019.

Karnataka Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, K.C. Venugopal and Dinesh Gundu Rao speaking to the media on July 8, 2019.

Several ministers, including 21 from the Congress and all from the JD(S) resigned on Monday, paving the way for a likely Karnataka Cabinet reshuffle. 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 .

Here are the latest updates:

7.50 p.m.

JD(S) cancels Kodagu resort booking

The JD(S), which is keen to protect its flock of MLAs from alleged poaching by the BJP, had booked a resort in Somwarpet in Kodagu near Mysore, only to cancel it later.

Amid the crisis gripping the beleaguered coalition, the JD(S) leadership has booked 35 rooms for three nights from Monday at Paddington resort.

“They were scheduled to arrive here for coffee by 5.30 p.m. on Monday. We first received a call cancelling the coffee. Later, they called again in the evening to cancel the booking of the rooms as well," said a representative from the resort. When asked for the reason for the cancellation, the representative said the JD (S) leadership was directly in touch with the Managing Director of the resort. “Our Managing Director received a call that they were cancelling the booking”, the representative added.

7.20 p.m.

 

14 MLAs leave for Goa

Fourteen Karnataka MLAs of Congress and JD(S) on Monday evening left Mumbai for Goa, said a senior BJP leader from Maharashtra. "All 14  left for Goa at 5 p.m. today. They are going to Goa by road," he said. The leader said that three more MLAs have already come to Mumbai and four more are expected. Two of the MLAs came from Pune while one came directly to Mumbai. "All will be taken to Goa," he said.

Meanwhile, the JD(S) has cancelled its booking at the Kodagu resort.  

3:00 pm

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has said all JD(S) ministers have also resigned to allow for a comprehensive Cabinet reshuffle.

2.45 p.m.

JD(S) MLAs to be shifted to resort in Kodagu

The JD (S) MLAs are likely to be shifted to a resort in Kodagu on Monday. Amid the crisis gripping the beleaguered coalition, the JD (S) leadership has booked 35 rooms for three nights from Monday at Paddington resort in Somwarpet in Kodagu.

“They were scheduled to arrive here for coffee by 5.30 pm today. But, we received a call cancelling the coffee,” said a representative from the resort.

“But, the rooms are still booked,” the resort representative added.

Except Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, all the JD (S) MLAs excluding three, who are away in Mumbai, are expected to be shifted to the resort.

2.15 p.m.

Eshwarappa says countdown for collapse of govt has begun

K.S. Eshwarappa, Shivamogga MLA and former Deputy Chief Minister has said that the countdown for the collapse of JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka has commenced.

Mr. Eshwarappa told the media on Monday that a large number of MLAs of the ruling dispensation were seriously upset over the way in which the government was being run and had vented their ire in public on several occasions.

He said that the top leaders of both JD(S) and Congress failed to give a patient hearing to the problems of these MLAs following which they have tendered resignation to their posts.

Refuting the allegations from former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that BJP national leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were trying to destabilise the coalition by luring the MLAs, he said that, it is not possible to lure senior leaders like Ramalinga Reddy and H. Vishwanath who have tendered resignation for Assembly membership, through any form of offers.

As the senior leaders felt that they were being sidelined, they have decided to quit, he said.

Alleging that a few Congress leaders including Mr. Siddaramaiah were not in favour of continuation of coalition rule, he said that, to conceal his role in bringing down the coalition government, Mr. Siddaramaiah is levelling false allegations against BJP leaders.

Mr. Eshwarappa added that a meeting of the BJP Legislature Party will be held in the evening to discuss the political developments.

2:00 p.m.

Nagesh kidnapped by BJP, alleges D.K. Shivakumar

Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar has alleged that the BJP has kidnapped independent Minister H. Nagesh and forcibly taken him to Mumbai in a chartered fight.

Claiming that he got a call from Mr. Nagesh, who revealed that he was being kidnapped, Mr. Shivakumar says: “He wanted me to rush to the airport and rescue him. But by the  time I came they had taken him.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Nagesh, who was recently inducted in the Cabinet, submitted his resignation to the Governor and also released a letter extending his support to the BJP.

1:30 p.m.

21 Congress Ministers resign to make way for a new Cabinet

In a desperate attempt to save the government, all 21 Ministers from the Congress have voluntarily resigned from the Cabinet. This is to enable the reconstitution of a fresh cabinet by accommodating disgruntled MLAs.

“They have resigned voluntarily and have entrusted the party to take necessary decision to reshuffle the government in the present scenario. I sincerely thank the ministers for their sacrifice for defeating the anti democratic attitude of BJP,” AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal says.

 

1:05 p.m.

A political party should not exploit person's weaknesses: Siddaramaiah

Coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah points out that the BJP did not get a mandate to form the government says, "they may have got a few seats more  than the Congress but they did not get a mandate."

"They are continuously trying to destabilise the government and the state BJP unit is backed by the Central unit. They are threatening MLAs with dire consequences and are using Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax and other agencies to get our MLAs in their fold. Previously five times they have failed and now sixth time too they will face failure.

"We have told our ministers to be prepared for any sacrifice. And we would reconstitute the Cabinet later. But now our ministers have voluntarily agreed to resign and have submitted their resignation letters to the party."

Mr. Siddaramaiah appeals to those who have resigned to return, says, "We will recast the ministry keeping in mind social justice. We are persuading the rebels to come back. All 22 congress ministers have resigned. Some Ministers who were not able to come will also come and submit resignations. Human beings have weaknesses. But a political party should not exploit person's weaknesses.”

The former Chief Minister further adds that, except Shankar, who is an independent Minister, all 21 have resigned voluntarily. They have now left it to the party. Under the law, the Speaker has to take the decision now regarding the 13 MLAs' resignations.

"Our Ministers have  entrusted the party for taking the necessary decision to reshuffle the government in the present scenario. I sincerely thank the Ministers for their sacrifice for defeating the anti-democratic attitude of BJP. We believe in the MLAs and we are ready to discuss everything. Those who resigned should come back to strengthen their own party. We are confident that they will come back and this government will continue," he adds.

12:50 p.m.

AICC holds emergency press conference

AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal along with Coordination committee chairman Siddaramaiah hold emergency press conference. Mr. Venugopal says:

"The BJP has been trying to destabilise the congress-JD(S) government continuously. This time also they are using their entire central agencies and are indulging in horse trading.  Congress is strong enough to handle this situation. We are confident in saving this government. We are aware of the grievances of the MLAs. But we cannot accommodate everybody. To save the government the ministers have themselves offered to resign from the party."

He further claims, "the rebel MLAs will join. We are confident the government will continue and this will be the sixth failure of the BJP in its attempts to destabilise the government."

12:10 p.m.

BJP a ‘poacher party’, says Cong leader Adhir Chowdhury

Terming the BJP a “poacher party”, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says his party will try to raise the Karnataka-crisis issue in Parliament.

“We’ll try to raise the Karnataka issue in Parliament but we won’t reveal our weapons. But it is clear that BJP is a poacher party,” Mr. Chowdhury, who is the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, told reporters outside the Parliament.

- PTI

11:45 a.m.

 

Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar tells media that all the Ministers were ready to sacrifice to save the government.

He spoke to the media after the end of the breakfast meeting.

11:30 a.m.

H. Nagesh resigns, to support BJP

Independent MLA H. Nagesh resigns as Minister in the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka and at the same time has announced his support to the BJP.

He met Governor Vajubhai Vala on July 8 morning and submitted letters of resignation as Minister and another expressing support to the BJP.

With this, the number of MLAs who have resigned so far has gone up to 13.

In January, Mr. Nagesh came out in support of the BJP but changed his stand after he was made a Minister on June 14. With the support of Mr. Nagesh, the strength of the BJP in the Assembly has gone up to 106.

If the resignations of the 13 MLAs are accepted, the strength of the Assembly will drop to 211, with the simple majority being 106 which the BJP now has achieved. The strength of the JD(S)-Congress coalition has dropped to 104, pushing it to a minority.

 

10:30 a.m.

 

Cabinet berths

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.

 

 

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