In a major jolt to the Congress- JD(S) Coalition government in Karnataka, three JD(S) and five Congress MLAs have handed over their resignation to the state Assembly Speaker K. R. Ramesh Kumar in Bengaluru, as per sources.
Sources further report that the MLAs who have quit from their respective posts are H Vishwanath, Mahesh Kumthalli, BC Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Shivaram Hebbar, Narayan Gowda, Pratap Gowda and Ramalinga Reddy. The resignation is reportedly yet to be accepted by the Speaker. Kumar has allegedly cited health reasons and left from his Speaker's chambers.
Apart from the above-mentioned MLAs, three more Congress MLAs- Byrathi Basavaraj, ST Somashekar, and Munirathna are reportedly set to submit their resignations, triggering a mass resignation in the tottering coalition, push it closer to minority numbers in the Karnataka Assembly.
Sources further report that Congress Committee General Secretary KC Venugopal has also been rushed to Bengaluru. Two more Congress leaders are poised to resign from their posts, as per sources.Speaking exclusively to Republic TV, former state Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy has confirmed his resignation:
"Now I'm resigning. I don't know what will happen from now on," he said.
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. 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.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition has seen major controversy during the poll campaign where Congress leaders and JD(S) openly questioned each other's authority. There have also been instances where Congress leader Siddaramaiah has questioned Kumaraswamy's skill to be the Chief Minister as growing dissent among the Congress MPs have also lead to defection. Kumaraswamy has also taken many potshots at Siddaramaiah openly when reports of him wanting to be chief minister again came out.
Recently, senior Congress leader and former Member of Parliament (MP) KH Muniyappa had expressed his wish to contest separately in the next elections. Adding to their woes, in a setback to the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka in 2019 elections, the BJP swept 25 parliamentary constituencies out of a total of 28, leaving Congress to one seat.