Other than these two independent candidates, three other Congress MLAs are reportedly supporting the BJP.

Two independent MLAs withdraw support from JDS-Cong govt in Karnataka
news Tuesday, January 15, 2019 - 15:02

Two independent MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly - R Shankar and H Nagesh - withdrew their support for the JD(S)-Congress coalition government ruling in the state. These two MLAs had gone incommunicado two days ago and appeared before the media in Mumbai. 

"I would like to bring to your kind attention that I am withdrawing my support extended to the coalition government of Karnataka headed by Congress and JDS parties with immediate effect. Requesting you to take necessary action," read the letters written by both R Shankar and H Nagesh addressed to the Governor of Karnataka.

R Shankar told the media, "I withdraw my support for the government, from today in the coming days I wanted to work but in this situation, I have taken back my support with sadness. I wanted to work for the people.  They (ministers) have not taken the confidence of MLAs and are running the government, we’ve seen this in media repeatedly."

This brings the number of the coalition down to 118 minus the Speaker. The BJP, meanwhile, has 104 members and two independents with this latest move. For the BJP to form a simple majority in the house, the quorum needs to be brought down to 210.

R Shankar from the Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha (KPJP), won from Ranebennur after defeating former Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly - KB Koliwad of the Congress.  KPJP is the party that Sandalwood actor Upendra joined in October 2017, only to quit in March 2018. During the no-confidence motion in May 2018, Shankar had kept changing his loyalties. While he was seen with the Congress one day and with the BJP the next day. Congress strategist DK Shivakumar finally managed to get him back on their side and Shankar was sworn in as the Minister of Forest and Environment. He was however removed in December 2018.

H Nagesh, meanwhile, was elected from Mulbagal in Kolar in the State Assembly elections. H Nagesh had contested the election as an independent candidate after he lost out of favour of the local Congress leadership. However, he emerged victorious after the Congress candidate from the seat was disqualified due to wrong documents.

The resignations come days after Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar confirmed that three Congress MLAs were camped in a hotel in Mumbai and were speaking to BJP leaders. The admission had set off speculation that the BJP was planning to upstage the coalition government in the state.