Karnataka political drama: Congress-JD(S) front says confident of numbers

The BJP has claimed that it's MLAs were being poached by JD(S) and not vice versa.
Karnataka political drama: Congress-JD(S) front says confident of numbers
Karnataka political drama: Congress-JD(S) front says confident of numbers

A day when the withdrawal of support by two independent MLAs stirred political tension in Karnataka, the ruling coalition led by CM HD Kumaraswamy remained bullish on the government’s stability. Many Congress and JD(S) leaders TNM spoke to claimed that they were not scared for the government's stability as the BJP would have to get 14 of their MLAs to abstain from voting in assembly or resign. These leaders believe the BJP has an unachievable target.

While the JD(S) and the Congress kept saying that the government was safe, the BJP started claiming that their MLAs were being poached by the JD(S), which is why they had to keep all 104 MLAs in a hotel in Gurugram.

Though the Karnataka BJP has not claimed any credit for five Congress MLAs moving to a hotel in Mumbai, a BJP minister in the Maharashtra government minister who met these Congress MLAs camping in Mumbai, claimed that the days of the coalition government were numbered.

What happened on Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, Congress troubleshooter and minister DK Shivakumar appeared with MLA Anand Singh who was reported to have had talks with the BJP.

But within hours, in a jolt to the coalition government, two independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar, who was dropped from the cabinet, withdrew support from the state government. Already, around 5 Congress MLAs had been holed up in Hotel Renaissance in Mumbai.

But as the day progressed, it became clear that even with the support of two independent MLAs and those disgruntled Congress MLAs, the BJP may still be unsuccessful in toppling the government.

The same was re-iterated by the Chief Minister himself, focus on the numbers he insisted.

"If two MLAs withdraw their support, what will be the numbers? I'm totally relaxed. I know my strength. Whatever is going on in media in the past week, I am enjoying," said a visibly confident HD Kumaraswamy after a brief meeting with Congress' Karnataka-in-charge KC Venugopal and Zameer Ahmed Khan.

As things stand, with 104 BJP MLAs and two independents, the party needs 14 MLAs of the ruling coalition to quit or abstain from voting. As widely reported, the number of disgruntled MLAs has not yet reached that number. Moreover, the JD(S) claims it's in talks with 8 BJP MLAs and if even a handful agree to support the coalition that would take the BJP's numbers down.

In fact, late in the evening, Zameer Ahmed Khan claimed,  “Our MLAs went to Mumbai for holidays, they'll be back by tomorrow. As per media, the number is increasing but according to us, it's decreasing. For us, it has come down to 2 from 15-16.”

Congress insiders also claimed the same. A source told TNM, “The top leaders in the party are not worried as only three MLAs from the party might jump ship. Pratapgouda Patil, who was rumoured to be one of the MLAs, has informed the party leadership that he is in a family function in Kolhapur.”

The source further added, “Siddaramaiah is still trying to pacify Ramesh Jarkiholi and if he is successful, then his followers will also remain with the government.There is nothing to worry as of the moment.”

The BJP in Karnataka meanwhile continued to distance itself from the whole process.

"Have you heard any BJP leader speak about this? All the BJP MLAs are in Delhi and are preparing for the Lok Sabha elections. It is the Congress and JDS who are talking for the past two days. We are looking at the developments. If 2 MLAs have withdrawn support, that does not mean that the BJP is staking claim," BJP spokesperson Malavika Avinash told TNM.




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