Karnataka Municipalities Minister and KPJP MLA from Ranebennur R Shankar on Monday tendered his resignation as a Minister in the Karnakata cabinet to Governor Vajubhai Vala. R Shankar soon departed to Mumbai and was seen at Bengaluruâ€™s Kempegowda International Airport on Monday evening, and speculation is rife that he will join the rebel MLAs.
With the resignation of 13 MLAs (yet to be accepted), and the defection of independent MLA H Nagesh to the BJP, the coalitionâ€™s number stands at 105 (including the Speaker) at the time of writing. The halfway mark in the House now reduced to 106 as the quorum is reduced to 211. The BJP now has 105 legislators plus the support of H Nagesh. This means that the coalition does not have the numbers to prove majority if the 13 rebels decide to stick to their decision to resign.
If Shankar does join the rebels, this would not be the first time he has jumped ship during a political crisis in the state.
R Shankar had switched sides from coalition to the BJP and then to the coalition again soon after the Karnataka State Assembly elections were announced and the Congress-JD(S) coalition and BJP were trying to prove majority in the Assembly.
Later in January 2019, R Shankar, who had allied with the Congress-JD(S) coalition, withdrew support when he was dropped from his post of Minister for Environment and Forests.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition, in a last ditch attempt to save the government, all Congress JD(S) ministers resigned to make way for the rebels. However, sources say that the BJP has also promised Cabinet berths to the rebel MLAs, so whether the coalitionâ€™s matching offer will be taken up by the defectors will have to be seen.
The Speaker Ramesh Kumar is believed to look into the resignation letters on Tuesday before making a decision on accepting them. The BJP meanwhile, is cooling its heels and waiting for the Speakerâ€™s announcement before making a decision on pushing for a no confidence motion.