Unrepentant of tearing four MLAs resignation letters, Congress leader D K Shivakumar, on Saturday, has confirmed that he indeed tore his 'friends' resignations in the Karnataka Speaker's chambers after 11 MLA submitted their resignation to the Speaker, throwing the JD(S)-Congress coalition government into jeopardy.
He said he did it to protect his party and friends, taking a big risk stating that he could not see his friends misguided. He added that he had the right to do so as he had contributed in the MLAs' electoral victories.
"Why should I not? See, they are my friends from my constituency whom I know for 30-40 years. It is emotional. So why not? Let anyone file a complaint. Let them put me behind bars. I am ready. I have taken a big risk. I know someone has recorded it. Let them release it. To protect my party, my friends I did it. I have fought elections with them and contributed in my own way. What is wrong in it? I cannot see them getting misguided," he said.
Speaking about the reason behind the sudden resignation by the MLAs, Shivakumar said that the party had been shocked by this development adding that the MLAs had said they were hurt by the current government.
"I have spoken to them and tried to convince them. They say they have been hurt by the system and some small stories. This is not a reason to resign. It is shocking to all of us. I think that good sense will prevail upon them as there is a lot of time. There is a procedure involved in this. No decision can be taken in a harsh way. Let us see," he said.
Hinting at BJP's hand in it, he said:" My BJP friends are doing their best. No one is closing their eyes and drinking milk."
Earlier, in the day, three JD(S) and five Congress MLAs handed over their resignation to the state Assembly Speaker K. R. Ramesh Kumar in Bengaluru, throwing the already tottering coalition government into jeopardy.
Following this development, several other MLAs resigned bringing the total number of resignations to 14, as cnfirmed by rebel MLAs. The Speaker has cited he would be able to attend to the issue only on Tuesday as he has a prior appointment on Monday.
Currently senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal, Siddaramaiah are in talks with the rebelling MLAs to dissuade them from resigning. JD(S) camp seems unperturbed as they are awaiting Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy's arrival from the US on Sunday and the Speaker's decision citing there is a lot of time.
The Congress and JD(S) coalition, which won 115 seats combined, is currently in power in the Karnataka State Assembly managing a slim margin over the BJP's 105 seats. With the exodus of 13 MLAs from the JD(S)- Congress coalition, then the JD(S)-Congress combination gets reduced to 102 MLAs, falling short of BJP's 105 MLAs. But this excludes the BSP's 1 MLA and 2 Independent MLAs. With the reduced number of seats, the halfway mark has also been reduced to 105 with both BJP and the current government JD(S)-Congress-BSP) possess 105 seats.
While the BJP government may have the numbers to conduct a trust vote on the Assembly, they do not have the numbers to pull down the government which may continue as a minority government. Sources have reported that BJP may wait for the by-polls to assess the party's chances better.