Bengaluru, July 8: After the Congress-JDS coalition government in Karnataka plunged into crisis following the resignation of 13 MLAs, both the parties on Sunday offered ministry posts to rebel legislators. The disgruntled MLAs, however, turned down the offer, forcing Congress and JD(S) to look for other options to save the 13-month-old coalition government. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who returned from the US amid the ongoing crisis, will hold an emergency cabinet meeting today.
With Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar scheduled to take up the resignations on Tuesday, Congress and JD(S) have 48 hours to save the government. If all 13 resignations are accepted, the Congress-JDS combine will lose the majority in the legislative assembly. Kumaraswamy is likely to ask some current ministers to step down to make way for the rebels. Congress strongman DK Shivakumar has said he will resign as water resources minister if it saves the government. Congress is also exploring to take legal action against the defiant MLAs. DK Shivakumar Alleges Horse Trading by BJP, Accuses HD Kumaraswamy of Being Lenient.
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah has called a meeting of party legislators on Tuesday and a whip is likely to be issued to all MLAs, including the rebels. “Strict action will be taken against MLAs who do not attend the meeting," Siddaramaiah said in the letter to all party MLAs. JD(S) is likely to take a similar step soon. Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa said the party was watching all development closely, adding that those in the party are not "sanyasis" to rule out the possibility of forming the government.
"Let’s wait and watch. Are we sanyasis (hermits)? After the resignation process is over and the speaker takes his decision, leaders of our party will discuss and decide," Yeddyurappa said in response to a question whether the BJP was preparing to form the government. Congress's DK Shivakumar Admits 'Tearing Up' Resignation of Rebel MLAs, Dares Them to File Complaint.
How numbers stack up in the Karnataka Assembly:
The strength of the Karnataka assembly is 224. The Congress and the JDS together have 118 members along with one BSP and one Independent member. The magic number is 113, excluding the Speaker who casts his vote only in the event of a tie. If the 13 resignations are accepted, it will bring the coalition's numbers down to 105 and the majority mark in the assembly from 113 to 106. The BJP, which has 105 legislators, reportedly wants to reduce the total strength of the assembly to 207 in order to claim a simple majority in the House.