Karnataka CM returns home from US hoilday to find his government collapsing.

Karnataka CM returns home from US hoilday to find his government collapsing.

Karnataka govt hangs by a thread; coalition trying hard to keep its flock, one more MLA quits

JD-S ministers too resign to save govt; rebels herded from Mumbai to Goa; BJP denies role

Agency Report | Bengaluru/Mumbai/New Delhi | 8 July, 2019 | 08:20 PM

Karnataka's year-old Congress-Janata Dal coalition government is on life support after yet another Independent lawmaker quit and pledged support to the BJP, taking the total number of resignations since last week to 15. Thirteen of them belong to the ruling Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular. Earlier Monday, another Independent, made a minister a month ago, resigned and came out in support of the BJP, giving it a narrow edge in the assembly. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who cut short a private visit to the US and returned to handle the crisis, said all Congress and JDS minsters have resigned and a cabinet reshuffle will happen soon. The idea is to make room for rebels who might be persuaded to return. The BJP has denied any role in the crisis but clearly it is getting ready to strike. All 15 rebel lawmakers are being shifted to Goa from the Mumbai hotel where they have been closeted. The shift comes as Youth Congress workers started protests outside their hotel and Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar headed for Mumbai. Last week, 12 lawmakers had resigned; 11 of them -- 8 of the Congress and three of the JDS -- quit on Saturday.

The JD-S-Congress government in Karnataka was on the brink of collapse on Monday as an Independent legislator resigned from the Cabinet and withdrew his support to the ruling coalition, which has already been hit by the resignations by over a dozen MLAs of the two parties.

The resignation by H. Nagesh, the Minister for Small Scale Industries, came even as the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular were making hectic efforts to save their 13-month-old alliance government.

As part of the effort, the two parties asked all their ministers to resign to pave the way for reconstitution of the Cabinet to accommodate the disgruntled and rebel MLAs. All 22 Congress and 9 JD-S ministers subsequently submitted their resignations.

Most of the Congress MLAs, who resigned on Saturday last, has left Karnataka and lodged themselves in Mumbai. The rebel MLAs, sources said, were likely to fly back to Bengaluru on Tuesday to meet the Speaker and insist on their resignations were accepted, and have ruled out changing their decision to quit.

Before the resignations, the ruling coalition had 118 MLAs, five more than the required majority mark of 113 in the 225-member Assembly.

They included 78 MLAs of the Congress (excluding the Speaker), 37 of the JD-S, one each from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and regional outfit Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janata Party (KPJP) and an Independent.

“I have this day, tendered my resignation from the council of ministers, headed by (Chief Minister) HD Kumaraswamy,” said Nagesh, an Independent MLA from the Mulbagal (SC) Assembly constituency, in a letter to Governor Vajubhai Vala.

Nagesh, who handed over the letter to Vala at Raj Bhavan, also mentioned that he was withdrawing his support to the government.

“I would by this letter, inform your good self that I withdraw my support to the government, headed by Kumaraswamy,” he wrote.

The 34-member ministry had 22 ministers from the Congress, 10 from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and one each from Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and Independent.

This deepens the woes of the ruling coalition for which trouble started on Saturday when 10 Congress and three JD-S MLAs resigned from the Assembly, expressing lack of confidence in the government.

However, Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar is yet to decide on these resignations.

Nagesh’s resignation comes barely a month after he was inducted into the Cabinet, along with R Shankar of the regional party KPJP (Karnataka Pragyavantara Janata Paksha) to ensure their support to his fledgling government facing a revolt from a dozen Congress rebel legislators since December.

Shankar, who is Municipalities Minister, also tendered his resignation letter to Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah along with 20 other Congress ministers to pave way for a dozen of its rebels from withdrawing their resignations and making them ministers to save the coalition government from collapsing ahead of the 10-day monsoon session of the state legislature from July 12.

This is the second time Nagesh and Shankar, who represents the Rannebennur Assembly segment, have withdrawn support to the coalition government. They earlier did so on January 15 after being dropped from the ministry on December 22 in a minor cabinet reshuffle-cum-expansion to ensure the government’s stability.

The Congress accused the BJP of wrecking its government in Karnataka. “BJP’s national leaders are behind this political crisis in the state. They do not want any government or any opposition party to rule in any state. They are destroying democracy,” Congress MLA DK Suresh told reporters.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in New Delhi were quick to retort. “The BJP has nothing to do with the political crisis in Karnataka,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament.
Meanwhile, at least 10 rebel Karnataka legislators of Karnataka’s ruling Congress-JD-S combine are chilling out in a five-star hotel in Mumbai even as angry Congressmen protested outside for the second day on Monday.

The Karnataka lawmakers arrived here on Saturday and have put up in the Sofitel Hotel in the upmarket Bandra Kurla Complex with a large posse of Mumbai Police personnel guarding them inside and outside the premises.

According to sources, they are likely to be joined by some more of their colleagues and most of them are expected to stay here till July 12, when the Karnataka Legislature’s monsoon session opens in Bengaluru.

Mumbai Congress along with Youth Congress leaders and activists, staged vociferous protests outside the hotel on the second day on Monday, condemning the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for “slaughtering democracy” in this manner.

Senior Congress leaders like Deputy Leader in Assembly Naseem Khan, former MP Eknath Gaikwad and others raised slogans, but they were prevented from coming near the hotel.

“We don’t know whey they have resigned, but they were brought here in a chartered aircraft by a senior BJP leader and ‘detained’ in the hotel. Despite the fact that they are Congress legislators, we are not allowed to meet them,” said Gaikwad.

He said that the lawmakers are incommunicado as their mobiles phones are not with them and the BJP government was attempting “to repress and pressurize these MLAs”.

Khan said that the party which came to power with the promise of protecting the cow, is now indulging in undemocratic ‘horse-trading’ as they did in Goa in the past, but the Congress will fight it.

Though BJP’s Maharashtra lawmaker Prasad Lad was seen going inside the hotel, he later claimed that it was pertaining to the ongoing BJP membership drive and not connected with the MLAs staying there.
After 22 Congress ministers, all nine Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) ministers in the Karnataka coalition government submitted their resignations, Kumaraswamy said.

The resignations came as the Congress and the JD(S) made hectic efforts to save their 13-month-old alliance government. As part of the effort, the two parties asked all their ministers to resign to pave the way for reconstitution of the Cabinet to accommodate the disgruntled and rebel MLAs.

The 34-member ministry had 22 ministers from the Congress, 10 from Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and one each from Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and Independent.

In a tweet in Kannada, he said that all the JD-S ministers “have resigned in the same manner” as the Congress ministers did and the “cabinet will be restructured soon.”

According to sources, the ministers submitted their resignation letters to Kumaraswamy at the JD-S legislature party meeting, held at the direction of party’s supremo HD Deve Gowda.
Senior Congress leaders were to meet in Delhi on Monday evening to discuss the situation in Karnataka where the Congress-JD-S coalition government is on the brink after several MLAs from both parties resigned.

According to party sources, Congress leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Ahmed Patel and Motilal Vora will discuss the Karnataka situation.

It is not clear if Rahul Gandhi, who has resigned as Congress President, will also attend the meeting. He did not attend a similar meeting on Karnataka on Saturday.

General Secretaries Mallikarjun Kharge and K.C. Venugopal are now in Karnataka.

Congress leaders had met on Saturday to discuss the issue. After the meeting, Kharge went to Karnataka. Venugopal flew to Bengaluru from Kerala.
Amid the political crisis in Karnataka, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara and senior BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar locked horns over the transportation of rebel Congress MLAs to Mumbai.

Parameshwara, a senior Congress leader, accused the BJP MP of arranging the aircraft to ferry its party MLAs, a charge denied by the saffron party leader.

“Traces of BJP’s role in destabilizing the government are all over the place. It is disgraceful that the party is attempting to topple a democratically elected government and grab power through the back door when the state is reeling under one of the worst droughts,” Parameshwara tweeted.

He attached a report which said that the aircraft used to fly the rebel Congress and JD-S MLAs from Karnataka to Mumbai belonged to a company linked to the BJP MP.

Chandrasekhar responded that the aircraft was a commercial one that it had been chartered even by Congress Ministers in the past.

“So don’t blame me or an ‘aircraft’ or BJP for the problems in your crooked corrupt opportunistic alliance,” the BJP MP said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the BJP had nothing to do with the situation in Karnataka.

Taking a dig at former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Rajnath Singh said the campaign of tendering resignation was started by him and it had nothing to do with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Minister was responding to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury who accused the BJP of trying to destabilize the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka.

Rajnath Singh said his party did not believe in the politics of horse-trading or inducements.

“Whatever is happening in Karnataka, our party has nothing to do with it. Our party is fully committed to the dignity of parliamentary democracy,” he said.

The Minister said Rahul Gandhi took moral responsibility for his party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections and resigned as the Congress President.

He said the Congress chief himself had asked party members to resign and numerous senior members had done so. “The process of tendering resignation is going on continuously. What has BJP to do with it?”
Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy returned to the city on Sunday night from a week-long private visit to the US and held parleys with the ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leaders on the party’s three MLAs resigning along with nine Congress rebels on Saturday, a party official said.

“Kumaraswamy returned from the US to New Delhi in the evening by an Air India flight and flew to Bengaluru in a chartered aircraft with two other JD-S Cabinet ministers,” party spokesman Ramesh Babu said.

The Chief Minister then drove to a hotel in the city and discussed the crisis arising out of the rebels’ resignation with party supremo and his father H.D. Deve Gowda and other leaders, including state PWD Minister and his elder brother H.D. Revenna.

Though Deve Gowda advised Kumaraswamy to wait for Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar’s decision on the resignations, others want him to call the party rebels back from Mumbai and ask them to withdraw their resignations before the Speaker acts on them.

“Our three rebel legislators (A.H. Vishwanath, Gopalaiah and Narayana Gowda) did not tell our leaders what were their concerns or demands all these months. Suddenly, they joined the Congress rebels and resigned without informing even Deve Gowda” said Babu.

JD-S Ministers G.T. Deve Gowda, C.S. Puttaraju and Sa Ra Mahesh have offered to resign so that the party’s three rebels can be pacified and inducted in a Cabinet reshuffle.

“Kumaraswamy will discuss with the Congress leaders if it will also induct some of its rebels in the 34-member Cabinet ministry by dropping an equal number of its ministers,” Babu added. (IANS)