After its impressive show in last month's Karnataka legislative council polls, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) on Thursday suffered a setback as two of its members quit the upper house.
N Thippanna, a party veteran and former working president of the party's state unit, and BR Gurudev submitted their resignations to council chairman Veeranna Mathikatti, who accepted them immediately.
Thippanna said he was resigning from JD-S and the council as he was "fed up with the way the party was being run by the Gowda family (JD-S president and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and his two sons Kumaraswamy and former minister HD Revanna)", while Gurudev said he was resigning for personal reasons.
The resignations brought down the JD-S' strength in the 75-member house from 17 to 15. The party had won five seats in the Dec 18 polls.
The JD-S blamed the state's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the loss of the two members.
"The BJP is scared that our party would get the post of leader of the opposition in the council and has engineered these resignations," party spokesperson YSV Datta told reporters.
The strength of the Congress in the upper house has come down to 16 as three of its members retired Tuesday. But with the JD-S' strength reduced, Congress will retain the post of leader of the opposition.
BJP spokesperson CT Ravi dismissed Datta's charges, saying: "It is ridiculous that JD-S blames us because it cannot keep its members in its fold."
JD-S state president and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said both BJP and Congress were behind the two resignations.
The BJP, which came to power in the state in May 2008 with the help of six Independents, achieved a majority in the 225-member assembly by wooing Congress and JD-S legislators. The BJP had won 110 seats but now has 117 members. However, with only 33 members, it does not have a majority in the council.
However with the term of nine members, mostly from Congress and JD-S, ending in June, the party hopes to gain majority in the upper house also, after the elections to fill the 11 vacancies, including the two created by the resignation of Thippanna and Gurudev.