Stability has not been a trademark of the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka for over a year of its rule now. With two Congress legislators resigning from the assembly on Monday, the coalition has suffered yet another setback.
After the resignations of Vijayanagar MLA Anand Singh and Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, the Congress is left with 77 legislators whereas its partner JD(S) has 37. Together, the alliance now has just a wafer-thin majority of 114 legislators in the 224-member Karnataka assembly, where the magic figure is 113. On the other hand, the main opposition BJP has 105 MLAs, there is one legislator of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an independent MLA.
While Singh said he decided to resign over some unfulfilled demands, Jarkiholi in his resignation complained that his party had “ignored” his seniority after dropping him from the cabinet last year.
It is being speculated that Singh may join the BJP. However, the MLA rejected the claims of falling prey to Operation Lotus, a strategy adopted by the BJP in 2008 to shore up its numbers in the assembly by making opposition MLAs resign and seek re-election on BJP ticket. Singh is a three-time MLA from Vijayanagara and had won the constituency in 2008 and 2013 on a BJP ticket.
Reacting to the news, state BJP chief and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said the resignations reflect large-scale unease in the ruling coalition and the government will collapse under its own weight.
“Only after the collapse of this government we can explore the constitutional provisions to form the new government. There is no question of elections. We are a strong force of 105 members and we have every right to make a claim for forming the government if the present one collapses,” he said.
JD(S) leader and chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is in the US for the foundation-laying ceremony of a temple, tweeted that he was aware of the developments taking place in the state adding that the “BJP was daydreaming to destabilise the government”.
The Kumaraswamy government has often accused the BJP of horse-trading in the past one year with rumours of legislators of mainly the Congress switching over to the saffron party.