Soon after the Congress-JD(S) coalition lost the motion of confidence in the Karnataka Assembly on Tuesday, BSP chief Mayawati expelled Karnataka's Kollegal MLA N Mahesh for abstaining from voting.
The coalition had 99 votes as opposed to the 100 they were expecting. N Mahesh, the BSP legislator, was instructed by Mayawati on Monday to cast his vote in favour of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. However, Mahesh was absent in the Assembly at the time of voting. Congress MLA B Nagendra was also absent due to ill health, bringing the numbers down from 100 to 98. The coalition got the support of the Deputy Speaker, taking the tally to 99.
"In violation of the instructions of the party high command to vote in support of the Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka, BSP legislator N Mahesh was absent in today's trust vote, which is indispensable, which the party took very seriously and therefore expelled Mr. Mahesh from the party with immediate effect," Mayawati said in a tweet.
Mayawati had put out a tweet on July 21 stating she had directed her party MLA to support Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy in Tuesdayâ€™s trust vote. This tweet had come as a surprise as just a day before, Mahesh had stated that he would abstain from voting in Mondayâ€™s trust as directed by his partyâ€™s supremo.
N Mahesh was formerly a minister in the Kumaraswamy cabinet but resigned in 2018 following disagreements between the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress concerning seat-sharing in the 2018 Madhya Pradesh elections. But the JD(S) and BSP were the only pre-poll alliance before the May 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections and Mahesh had maintained his support for the government. The Congress and JD(S) in May 2018 had formed a sudden coalition in May 2018 and snatched away BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa's dream of becoming CM again.
However, the crisis for the coalition government in Karnataka started on July 6, when 10 rebel MLAs submitted their resignations. Despite all ministers in Kumaraswamyâ€™s cabinet resigning to make way for rebelling MLAs, the rebels could not be pacified. Attempts by Congressâ€™ troubleshooter and former minister DK Shivakumar to reach out to the MLAs, who were camped in a Mumbai hotel, also failed, with the leader even being detained by the police. The end of the road, however, came when more MLAs tendered their resignations and the Supreme Court allowing the rebelling legislators to sit out of the Assembly proceedings.