On the day Vijayanagara MLA Anand Singh confirmed his resignation from the Karnataka Assembly, Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi followed suit, casting fresh doubts about the future of the coalition government in the state.
Ramesh's resignation comes as no surprise and ends months of speculation about his future. He submitted a handwritten letter to the Governor stating that he is resigning from his position as MLA of Gokak constituency.
In April, he had said that he was "technically with the Congress" suggesting that an announcement on his future was imminent. He had also stated that he will resign and contest as the BJP candidate from Yemkanmardi, the constituency from which his brother Satish Jarkiholi won in the Assembly Elections in 2018. Ramesh was also seen campaigning for the BJP candidate in Chikkodi during the Lok Sabha Elections.
Reports suggested that Congress MLAs B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathalli are set to follow Ramesh and Anand Singh with their own resignations from the Karnataka Assembly. In February, Congress moved a petition with Speaker Ramesh Kumar seeking to disqualify Ramesh. He was dropped from the Karnataka cabinet in 2018.
Ramesh Jarkiholi's issues in the Congress goes back to the party's handling of his complaints against DK Shivakumar's growing influence in Belagavi. Ramesh had stated that DK Shivakumar was interfering in the working of the Belagavi Congress through his trusted aide and Belagavi Rural MLA Laxmi Hebbalkar.
The strength of the coalition government is down to 117 with Ramesh's resignation. Congress has 78 MLAs, the JD(S) has 37 MLAs and there is 1 BSP MLA. Two independent MLAs - R Shankar from Ranebennur and H Nagesh from Mulbagal constituencies - are also supporting the coalition.
Meanwhile, the BJP has 105 MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly. The majority mark in the Assembly is 113.
Both the resignations come at a time when Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is in the US and is set to return on July 8. "I have been observing all the affairs of the state especially the BJP's attempt to destabilize our government. It will remain a dream for them," he tweeted.
Ramesh was first elected as the MLA of Gokak on a Janata Dal (United) ticket in 1999. But since 2004, he has contested the polls as a member of the Congress party.