The Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition government in Karnataka appears to be teetering on the edge with 11 lawmakers resigning, while Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is still in the US on holiday. Eight Congress and three Janata Dal-Secular legislators submitted their resignations to the Speaker Saturday evening, while he was not in office. The legislators then also met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan. If the resignations are accepted, the coalition will be close to collapse.
In a severe jolt to the 13-month-old coalition government in Karnataka, eight Congress and three Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislators on Saturday submitted their resignations in the Assembly Speaker’s office.
“I came to know from my personal secretary that 11 legislators gave resignation letters in my office. They were acknowledged with receipts. I will go through them on Tuesday (July 9) as I am on leave on Monday,” Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar told reporters at his residence here.
Congress sources in New Delhi said state in-charge K.C. Venugopal, who is in Kerala presently, was rushing to Bengaluru and would meet the Congress MLAs in the evening.
The eight Congress MLAs who resigned are Pratapgauda Patil (Maski), B.C. Patil (Hirekerur), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur) and Mahesh Kumatahalli (Athani), Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout), S.T Somashekar (Yeshvantpur) and S.N. Subba Reddy (KGF in Kolar).
The three JD-S MLAs are A.H. Vishwanath (Hunsur), N. Narayana Gowda (K.R. Pete) and Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi).
“As the Speaker was not in the office, the legislators submitted their resignation letters to his personal assistant,” a party official said.
Though Jarkiholi had sent his resignation on July 1, it was not accepted by the Speaker, as it was faxed to his office, which is against the procedure.
Congress legislator Anand Singh from Vijayanagara segment had also resigned on July 1. As he personally handed over his resignation letter to the Speaker, his office acknowledged receiving it.
As the legislators could not meet the Speaker, they went to the Raj Bhavan to apprise Governor Vajubhai Vala of their decision to resign.
Of the Congress legislators, Reddy, a seven-time lawmaker, was a Cabinet minister in the previous Siddaramaiah-led government.
Three more Congress legislators, including Reddy’s daughter Soumya (Jayanagar), Bharti Basavaraj (K.R. Puram) and Munirathna (R.R. Nagar) are also reportedly mulling to resign.
In the 225-member Assembly, the coalition government had 118 members, five over than the halfway mark of 113. These include Congress’s 79 (excluding the Speaker), the JD-S’s 37 and three more – one each from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and regional outfit Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and an Independent.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has 105.
The party sources said that the Venugopal, who is also a party General Secretary, could offer the cabinet rank to few of the angry MLAs.
The development in Karnataka comes at a time when Congress is facing a major leadership crisis in the wake of Rahul Gandhi stepping down from the party chief’s post following the Lok Sabha drubbing.
Amid the crisis to its coalition government in Karnataka, senior Congress leaders went into a huddle in Delhi.
Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Motilal Vora, Ahmed Patel, Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitendra Singh, party communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala and Deepender Hooda arrived at the party office in the evening.
According to party sources, the senior leaders will discuss the Karnataka crisis and the leadership crisis in the party.
Speaking to reporters while going in, Surjewala said: “Will speak on Karnataka crisis after the meeting.” (IANS)