The crisis in Karnataka politics continues to intensify as 11 MLAs have submitted resignation letters. Their resignation signals the growing disillusion within the weakening Congress-JD(S) coalition, as it teetered towards collapse on Saturday. Karnataka minister and troubleshooter DK Shivakumar has been working to pacify the rebelling MLAs but drama ensued after he learned that RR Nagar MLA Munirathna had also tendered his resignation.
Sources say that when DK Shivakumar found out that Munirathna had accompanied eight other MLAs to submit their resignations, he arrived at the Vidhana Soudha in a fit of rage and tore up Munirathna‚Äôs letter.
The MLAs who have submitted their resignations include former state Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, Ramesh Jarkiholi, AH Vishwanath, Somashekar, Pratap Gouda Patil, Gopalaiah, BC Patil, Mahesh Kumtahallli, Narayana Gowda, Byrati Basavaraj, Shivram Hebbar. Munirathna then went to the Governor to directly voice his concerns regarding the party.
And in their meeting with the Governor, the MLAs complained about DK Shivakumar tearing up Munirathna‚Äôs resignation letter. The Governor, Vajubhai Vala, then got Bengaluru Commissioner Alok Kumar to hear them out.
According to sources, since the letter was torn, Munirathna‚Äôs resignation was not considered official.
The 11 Karnataka MLAs who submitted their resignation to Speaker Ramesh Kumar claimed they made the decision due to their loss of confidence in the leadership of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, sources say.
DK Shivakumar meanwhile is busy trying to sort out the issue. "It was shocking to me that Ramalinga Reddy offered his resignation. He is a senior leader of the party, a seven-time MLA like me. He feels humiliated by the party and the ministry. I hope to sort it out,‚ÄĚ Shivakumar told TNM outside his residence in Bengaluru on Saturday.
If five more MLAs resign, the coalition will no longer have a majority in the Karnataka Assembly.
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‚Äôs strength in the Assembly is 105. The majority mark is 113.