Karnataka Political Crisis: 21 Congress, 9 JD(S) Ministers Resign To Make Way For Rebel MLAs
In a bid to save the Karnataka coalition government, all the 21 Congress and nine JD(S) ministers in the assembly have resigned to offer ministerial positions to the 13 rebel MLAs on July 8. The Chief Minister’s official Twitter handle announced the resignations and declared that a Cabinet reshuffle will soon take place.
The huge decision came after 13 MLAs from the coalition government (10 Congress+ 3 JD(s)) put down their resignation papers on July 6 threatening the possibility of the government to collapse. According to the reports, the rebel MLAs are lodged in a hotel in Mumbai and have declined to withdraw their resignations. Congress alleged that BJP has flown these rebel MLAs to Mumbai.
An independent MLA and minister H Nagesh has also withdrawn its support to the government, making it a total of 14 MLAs who have rebelled against the coalition government.
Another Congress MLA – Rahim Mahmood Khan also threatened to resign from the party. India Today reported that Congress MLA SN Subba Reddy has also warned the party that if the water is not supplied to his constituency then he will resign as well.
Following the crisis, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s father and JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda convened a meeting with party leaders on the night of July 7. Deve Gowda blamed Siddaramaiah for the current government crisis saying that all those who have resigned were Siddaramaiah’s supporters.
Siddaramaiah, however, took to Twitter to blame the BJP for poaching the MLAs.
.@BJP4India is a disgrace to our country & they have no respect for Parliamentary democracy. RSS did not respect freedom movement & BJP is not respecting our constitution. They are pseudo nationalists with ulterior motive of destabilizing India's unity.
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) July 8, 2019
Kumaraswamy too cut short his personal US trip and called for an emergency meeting with top leaders from the government on the morning of July 8. The CM told NDTV that the government will survive and there is no threat to it.
The Hindu reported that the cabinet is anticipated to send a resolution to the Governor to delay the Assembly’s monsoon session.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddarmaiah has also summoned a Legislative Party’s meeting on July 9. The party is likely to issue a whip to all its MLAs, including the rebels, to attend the meeting. According to reports, Siddaramaiah may be considered to replace Kumaraswamy as the chief minister, if the JD(s) agrees.
JD(S) leader and Minister GT Devegowda told PTI that JD(S) would have no objection if the coordination committee makes Siddaramaiah the next chief minister.
The political crisis kickstarted on July 1, when two Congress MLAs – Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi put down their resignation letter. Both leaders expressed their differences with the government.
Reacting the two the resignations, BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa back then had said that Singh’s resignation is a clear indication of dissidence among the members in the government.
There is a total of four possibilities that can take place in the Karnataka assembly.
Currently, the ruling coalition has 117 MLAs (Congress 78, JD(S) – 37, BSP – 1 and Independents – 1) in the 224 Karnataka assembly. However, if the resignations of these 13 rebel MLAs are accepted, then the strength of the government will go down to 104, which is two short of the majority mark of 106 and one short of the BJP’s strength. The resignation will bring down the coalition government after the floor test.
The second possibility is that if the Speaker refuses to accept the resignation, then the BJP might move to court. However, this will give some time to the Congress-JD(S) govt to placate the rebel MLAs.
Another possibility is that the coalition government survives after appeasing rebel MLAs by providing ministerial positions.
The last option for the coalition government is to elect Siddarmaiah as the next CM as most rebel MLAs are opposed to HDK’s leadership.