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BJP demands exit of minority HDK govt

BJP demands exit of minority HDK govt
Congress MLAs from Karnataka speak to the media during their ongoing meeting with BJP leaders at a hotel in Mumbai on July 7.
BENGALURU, JUL 8 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/8/2019 11:59:07 AM IST

The resignation drama in Karnataka continued on Monday, as the Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) and Congress got all their ministers to step down from their posts and proposed to replace them with disgruntled legislators in a last-ditch effort to save the one-year old H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government.

The coalition dangled cabinet berths as carrots to disgruntled legislators who remain holed up in a plush hotel in Mumbai. The BJP, which claims to have no role in the resignation of Congress and the JD(S) legislators, is confident that at least another four or five MLAs would resign.

On Monday, the BJP said that the Karnataka governor should intervene and ask the coalition government to step down as it does not have the numbers to continue in power.

“Ministers voluntarily resigned to make way for others to be accommodated,” Siddaramaiah, former chief minister and senior Congress leader, said in Bengaluru. “All ministers from #JDS have submitted their resignations just like the 21 ministers from #Congress. Cabinet reshuffle will happen soon,” Kumaraswamy tweeted on Monday.

H. Nagesh and R. Shankar, the two independents who were inducted into the cabinet barely a month ago, resigned as ministers and extended their support to the BJPthat appears all set to form the next government. Nagesh was bundled away in a private charter, like the other ten on Saturday, raising questions on whether the BJP had funded their flight.

Since 1 July, at least 13 Congress and JD(S) legislators have resigned as MLAs and two independents have pulled out of the government. However, K.R.Ramesh Kumar, the Assembly speaker, is yet to accept the resignations and is likely to look into the matter on Tuesday.

If the speaker accepts the resignations, it would bring down the coalition’s total to 103 MLAs (excluding Kumar) while the BJP has 107 MLAs, including the support of the two independent legislators, that theoretically gives the saffron party the numbers to form the government. But the process is likely to take longer as Kumar would have to ascertain the cause of the resignations and also that the BJP might be wary to take over anytime now since the month from 3 July is considered inauspicious.

If the resignations are accepted then this would render 13 seats vacant. However, Congress and JD(S) are planning to use all possible measures, including legal recourse, to hold on for as long as possible in order to find a solution to the crisis.

The JD(S) on Monday ferried its legislators to a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru to shield them from any alleged poaching attempts by the BJP.

With a non-existent Congress high command, the deeply faction-hit state unit of the party finds itself in the middle of its biggest political crisis with merely a handful of leaders really wanting to keep the coalition afloat. The Congress in Karnataka appear to be at loggerheads on the measures to be taken with some wanting to wait and some others wanting to try a reverse operation on the BJP.

Kumaraswamy, on the other hand, is yet to convey the resignations to the governor and is likely to act only if the disgruntled legislators offer signs of a possible reconciliation, said one person aware of the developments.

 “If the disgruntled elements are not interested, then there is no point in these resignations,” the person cited above said requesting not to be named.

 

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