Fourteen MLAs of the ruling JD(S)-Congress alliance in Karnataka have submitted their resignation to the Speaker, putting a question mark on the survival of the 13-month-old government.
If the resignations are accepted, the wobbly ruling coalition will lose majority in the 224-member Assembly as its strength will come down to 104.
The crisis, which had been brewing ever since the BJP swept the parliamentary polls in the state, deepened as 13 Congress and JD(S) MLAs reached the Speaker’s office to put in their papers and later met Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday.
After meeting the Governor, JD(S) MLA A H Vishwanath said, “Fourteen MLAs from Congress and JD(S), including Anand Singh, have submitted resignation from the Assembly to the Speaker…we also brought to matter to the notice of governor.”
Singh submitted his resignation to the Speaker earlier this week.
Vishwanath accused the coalition government led by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy of failing in its duty and denied that the BJP was behind the revolt.
“The government failed to coordinate with the MLAs…and take them along. It has also failed to live up to the expectations of the people,” he said.
On the charge that the BJP was trying to destabilise the government through “Operation Lotus (BJP’s poll symbol)”, he said it is “a figment of your imagination”.
“There is no BJP angle to it. We are all seniors. No operation can happen…we are resigning voluntarily against the apathy of the government,” he said.
Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who was not in his office when the legislators went there Saturday, confirmed the resignations and said “whether the government will fall or survive” would be decided “in the Assembly”.
As a last-ditch bid, Congress’s “trouble shooter” and Minister D K Shivakumar met the legislators and tried to convince them.
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 half-way mark is 113.
The MLAs who were seen at the Speaker’s office included Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Pratap Gowda Patil (Maski), Shivram Hebbar (Yellapur), Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), B C Patil (Hirekerur), Byratibasavaraj (K R Puram), S T Soma Shekar (Yashwanthpur) and Ramalinga reddy (BTM Layout) of the Congress.
The JD(S) MLAs are A H Vishwanath (Hunsur), who recently resigned as the party’s state chief, Narayana Gowda (K R Pet), and Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout).
The Speaker told reporters, “11 of them have submitted resignation letters. I told officials to take the letters and issue acknowledgement…on Tuesday I will go to office and take further action in accordance with rules.”
To questions on the future of the government, Kumar said, “Let’s wait and see, I have nothing to do with it… Whether the government will fall or survive, it will be decided in the Assembly…”
The ruling coalition leaders had expressed fear that the BJP would try to destabalise the government after the Lok Sabha election results. The Congress and the JD(U) managed to win just one seat each in the state having 28 Lok Sabha constituencies.
The BJP bagged 25 seats and an Independent supported by it won from Mandya.