In a blow to the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka, N Mahesh, the lone MLA from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Karnataka who was earlier a minister in the HD Kumaraswamy government, announced on Sunday that he will not attend the floor test due on Monday. Speaking to reporters, he said, “I will not attend the floor test tomorrow in Karnataka Assembly as per the direction of Mayawati ji”.
The announcement is the first time that Mahesh officially acknowledged that the decision came at the behest of the BSP chief Mayawati, who also incidentally called off the alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh recently.
Mahesh was among the 20 members who had missed the Karnataka Assembly session on Thursday and Friday — along with the 15 rebels MLAs, two independents, and Congress MLAs Srimant Patil and B Nagendra.
In this light, some media reports have also suggested that Mahesh, who unsuccessfully contested five times before 2018, might sway towards the BJP later for the sake of his constituency’s development.
Mahesh was not present in the Assembly on the two days that it has been in session in the light of the recent political crisis started with 15 rebel MLAs of the coalition resigning, and even approaching the Supreme Court to seek directions for the Speaker to accept their resignations expeditiously. With these resignations, the coalition government is in the minority, with the BJP having numerical advantage buoyed by the support of the two independent MLAs.
Mahesh, the Kollegal MLA from Mysuru had submitted his resignation to the Governor in October 2018 as the Primary and Secondary Education Minister, following disagreements between the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress concerning seat-sharing in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh elections.
But the JD(S) and BSP were the only pre-poll alliance before the May 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections. In fact, BSP supremo Mayawati had addressed multiple rallies alongside JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, his son and present Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
While the much-delayed floor test set to be held on Monday is titled in favour of the BJP, it is being speculated the top brass of the Congress and JD(S) are exploring options to prevent it. Both parties on Friday had also approached the apex court again, seeking clarity on its interim order that the court passed in the case filed by the rebel MLAs.
Meanwhile, the rebel MLAs who were in Mumbai have said that they will not return to the party fold.