The 11 Karnataka MLAs who submitted their resignations to the Karnataka Speaker on Saturday claim that they did so as they were unhappy with Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s leadership, sources told TNM. Former Karnataka Congress Minister and senior leader Ramalinga Reddy has however demanded that he should be given the Bengaluru Development ministry which is currently being held by Deputy Chief Minister Parameshwara.
Ramalinga Reddy and 10 other MLAs – Ramesh Jarkiholi, AH Vishwanath, Somashekar, Pratap Gouda Patil, Gopalaiah, BC Patil, Mahesh Kumtahallli, Narayana Gowda, Byrati Basavaraj, Shivram Hebbar – have submitted their resignations.
Highly placed sources told TNM that out of these, three Karnataka Congress MLAs – ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj and Munirathna – have demanded a change of leadership and demanded that Kumaraswamy be ousted as the Karnataka Chief Minister. The three have demanded that former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah be made the Chief Minister.
Other rebel MLAs have suggested that anybody but Kumaraswamy be made the Chief Minister, sources stated.
However, a top Congress source denied this and said that other than Ramalinga Reddy, all other MLAs were in talks with the BJP and were ready to jump ship. "Demanding a leadership change is just their ploy to deepen the fissures in the coalition."
These developments have put the JD(S)-Congress’s ruling coalition in Karnataka in a tight spot. While 11 MLAs have resigned, if five more do so, the coalition will no longer have a majority in the Karnataka Assembly.
The 11 MLAs were accompanied by rebel Congress leader Anand Singh, who has tendered his resignation already, and Congress MLA Munirathna, whose resignation was reportedly torn by Karnataka Minister DK Shivakumar earlier on Saturday.
Karnataka Minister and troubleshooter DK Shivakumar told TNM that he is trying to convince the MLAs and that they want to resign over ‘petty reasons.’
The strength of the coalition government is 120 now, including the Speaker. Congress has 80 MLAs, the JD(S) has 37 MLAs and there is 1 BSP MLA. Two independent MLAs - R Shankar from Ranebennur and H Nagesh from Mulbagal constituencies - are also supporting the coalition. The BJP’s strength in the Assembly is 105. The majority mark is 113.