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2 more jolt HDK govt in Karnataka

2 more jolt HDK govt in Karnataka
Congress leaders Milind Deora, D.K. Shivakumar and Naseem Khan being taken away by Mumbai police on Wednesday. (The Hindu)
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI, JUL 10 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/10/2019 11:24:10 AM IST

In a fresh jolt to the wobbly Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka, two Congress legislators, Housing minister M.T.B Nagaraj and K Sudhakar, tendered their resignation on Wednesday to the Assembly Speaker, taking the number of disgruntled MLAs who have put in their papers to 16. 

The ruling coalition faces the threat of losing majority in the Assembly if the resignations are accepted as its current tally is 116 in the 224-member House.

Confirming the resignations, Speaker Ramesh Kumar told reporters, “Yes, Sudhakar and M T B Nagaraj have resigned.” They handed over their resignations at the Speaker’s chamber in Vidhana Soudha, the State secretariat. After tendering his resignation, Nagaraj told reporters that he was “fed up” with politics and wished to retire from public life.

“I don’t want any ministerial position or anything. I am fed up with politics,” Nagaraj said. Of the 16 MLAs who have resigned, 13 are from Congress and three from JD(S). The coalition’s total strength is 116 (Cong-78, JD(S)-37 and BSP-1), besides the Speaker. With the support of the two independents, who Monday resigned from the ministry, the BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the half-way mark is 113. If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the coalition’s tally will be reduced to 100.

Shivakumar, two others detained by Mumbai police: Karnataka minister D.K. Shivakumar and his Congress colleagues Milind Deora and Naseem Khan were detained on Wednesday outside a hotel where rebel MPs are holed up amid high drama and deepening uncertainty about the future of the state’s ruling coalition. 

Shivakumar, the Congress’ troubleshooter, had been camping outside the Renaissance Hotel in Powai since morning, determined to meet the rebel MPs in a desperate bid to pull the Congress-JD(S) government from the brink of collapse. 

Security personnel, camera crews, media personnel and political workers jostled with each other outside the luxury hotel that has become the centrepiece of the crisis in Karnataka. Slogans of “Shivakumar go back” were raised and some people clambered on to the high gates of the hotel on the outskirts of the city.

Shivakumar was being interviewed by a TV channel when he was almost pulled away by Mumbai Police and detained. Former Union minister Deora and former Maharashtra minister Khan who had come to meet him were also detained. 

10 rebel MLAs of Cong and JD(S) move SC: The political crisis in Karnataka Wednesday reached the Supreme Court as 10 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs moved their plea alleging that the state Assembly Speaker has been deliberately not accepting their resignations.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submission of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the rebel MLAs, and assured him that it will see whether their petition can be listed for an urgent hearing tomorrow. 

The senior lawyer said these lawmakers have already resigned from their membership of the assembly and wanted to contest fresh elections.

He sought the hearing either on Wednesday or Thursday on the plea in which it has been alleged that the Speaker had acted in a partisan and mala fide manner and deliberately not accepting their resignations.

“We will see,” the bench, which also comprised justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said when Rohatgi was pressing for an urgent hearing, saying “time is the essence” in the matter.

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