ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ ITDC NEWS The crisis threatening the continuity of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government of H.D. Kumaraswamy in Karnataka entered a crucial day on Tuesday as the speaker is scheduled to examine the resignations of 13 MLAs of the ruling coalition. The Kumaraswamy government was plunged into crisis on Saturday after a total of 12 Congress and JD(S) MLAs submitted their resignations to the office of Speaker Ramesh Kumar.
Kumar, who was not present when the resignations were submitted, is expected to formally examine the resignations of the 13 MLAs; Anand Singh, a Congress MLA, had resigned on July 1.
Till last week, in the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, the Kumaraswamy government had a total of 119 MLAs supporting it, including two independents, while the BJP had 105 MLAs.
According to experts, Kumar has the option to immediately accept the resignations, which would mean the Kumaraswamy government would collapse. Kumar may also ask the MLAs for clarifications on their resignations to ascertain that the move was made without duress. He may also choose to delay action.
On Monday, two independent MLAs who were ministers in the Kumaraswamy government—H. Nagesh and R. Shankar—withdrew support to the Congress-JD(S) alliance and declared their backing to the BJP. Both Nagesh and Shankar since left for Mumbai to join several other rebel MLAs. With support from the two independents, the BJP has 107 MLAs backing it in the Karnataka Assembly, four seats more than the Congress-JD(S), assuming the resignations of 13 legislators are accepted.
Meanwhile, the Congress Legislature Party is scheduled to meet around 9.30am on Tuesday. K.C. Venugopal, Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, said the party had requested the rebel MLAs to return from Mumbai and join the meeting. On Monday, all ministers of the Congress and JD(S) resigned with the aim of revamping the cabinet to accommodate the rebels.
In a related development, both the Congress and JD(S) are reportedly 'safeguarding' their MLAs. On Monday night, JD(S) MLAs were seen being transported from Bengaluru via bus in order to deter attempts by the BJP to 'poach' them.
Congress targets governor
On Monday, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara accused Governor Vajubhai Vala of encouraging horse-trading. Parameshwara referred to Vala talking to the MLAs who resigned.
"Our governor... when the MLAs went to submit their resignations to him, there was no necessity for him to chit-chat with them for two hours," he told reporters. "In the photograph you have published, the governor was sitting with the police officer. If there was any threat to any MLA, if the MLAs had asked for any security, then the question of police security arises but the governor called the police commissioner there and discussed with the MLAs for two hours. In such a situation, we are forced to say that you are responsible for the horse-trading," Parameshwara added.
The BJP had demanded Vala intervene in the situation on the grounds that the Kumaraswamy government had lost its majority.