Karnataka coalition leaders in a huddle as rebel MLAs stand resolute
On Saturday, nine Congress and three JD(S) MLAs had submitted their resignations to the Speaker’s office and then held a meeting with Governor Vajubhai Vala before the nine of them left for Mumbai by a special flight.Updated: Jul 08, 2019, 08:30 IST
Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy rushed to the city from his tour of the USA on Sunday and went straight into meetings with leaders from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).
The coalition government has been reeling from the resignations of 12 MLAs on Saturday, and even though senior leaders were upbeat and expressed confidence that a few MLAs would take back their resignations, the rebels held a press meet in Mumbai dismissing any such possibility.
On Saturday, nine Congress and three JD(S) MLAs had submitted their resignations to the Speaker’s office and then held a meeting with Governor Vajubhai Vala before the nine of them left for Mumbai by a special flight.
Congress MLA ST Somashekhar, speaking at the Sofitel Hotel in Mumbai, said: “We are 10 MLAs here. We have resigned and we have told the Governor about this. MLAs Ramalinga Reddy, Munirathna and Anand Singh will join us tomorrow in Mumbai. There is no question of us taking back our resignations as is being claimed in the media.”
Former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah has called a CLP meet on Tuesday.
Somashekhar said though that there was no question of attending it. “It is irrelevant to issue whip and hold legislature party meeting after we have resigned, he said.
Earlier in the day Senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, too, said that it was to be seen how many of the MLAs might have a change of heart. “The Assembly session will begin on July 12 and we will know how many people will violate the whip. The MLAs have cited many reasons for the resignations, and we will try and address their grievances, let’s see how successful we are,” he said.
Kharge targeted the Central government saying it did not believe in democracy. “Regional parties and national parties are being targeted and they are trying to woo their MLAs. In about 13-14 states they have engineered defections,” he said. The Congress and the JD(S) held hectic parleys with their respective leaders. AICC general secretary KC Venugopal discussed the developments with Congress leaders from the state, even as troubleshooter DK Shivakumar met former prime minister HD Deve Gowda to seek his opinion. Two senior leaders from among the rebels, who spoke to HT, confirmed that they had only resigned from legislator’s post and not from their respective parties.
Former JD(S) state president AH Vishwanath, speaking from Mumbai, said he was unsatisfied with the coalition government. “I have not quit the JD(S), this resignation is only for the MLA’s post,” he said. “There is no question of me joining the Bharatiya Janata Party; it has never crossed my mind,” he added, even as it was believed that the MLAs in Mumbai were in close contact with BJP leaders.
Former home minister and seven-time Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy, too, said that he was still with the Congress. “I have built this party and I continue to be a Congress worker,” he said. Venugopal and other Congress leaders had held meetings with Reddy, but he said that he told them things had gone beyond the stage of reconciliation. “I told them I was sidelined and discriminated against. It is not a joke to submit resignation and there is no question of taking it back,” he said, adding that if his resignation were to be accepted he would still contest the resulting by-election to his constituency.
On the day after the resignations, it emerged that there were two factions among the rebel MLAs. One faction was of the nine MLAs in Mumbai and the other was of Reddy, ST Somashekhar and BA Basavaraj.
A close aide of former chief minister Siddaramaiah said that at least four MLAs would take back their resignations. “Wait and watch another day or two, at least four of them will come back because they will be disqualified otherwise,” the person said. On Sunday, the JD(S), which had not seen the resignations of three of its MLAs coming, held its legislature party meeting as chief minister HD Kumaraswamy rushed back to the country from his tour of the USA.
Senior Congress leaders too held a meeting at the hotel where the JDLP was being held. Meanwhile, former chief minister and BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa told reporters that everything was left to the Speaker now. “The Assembly session will begin on July 12 and the chief minister has to return from abroad. Let’s wait and see what decision they will take,” he said. “In my opinion this government has lost its majority, but a decision has to be taken by the Speaker and chief minister. We are not ascetics, let the Speaker take his decision and then we will hold a meeting and take a call on this when the time comes,” Yeddyurappa said.
If the 12 resignations submitted on Saturday and MLA Anand Singh’s resignation, submitted on July 1, are accepted the coalition will have the support of 106 MLAs, against the BJP’s 105.
(With additional inputs from Naresh Kamath)