Congress lost one more MP in Rajya Sabha with Karnataka leader K C Rammamurthi resigning from the Upper House on Wednesday citing leadership not making changes in the party to address problems and is likely to join the BJP soon.
Ramamurthy (67), the third Congress MP to resign in the past three months, submitted his resignation to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and it was accepted, sources said. He was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1 July, 2016 and has term till 30 June, 2022.
With this, Congress' number in Rajya Sabha has come down to 45. Earlier, its chief whip Bhubaneswar Kalita and senior MP Sanjay Sinh, who represented Assam, had quit.
Speaking about his resignation, Ramamurthy said he had informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders about the problems in Congress. "I waited for one year expecting some changes in the party. But nothing has happened. Upset with this, I decided to quit the Congress and Rajya Sabha," he said.
On his future moves, he said he had met BJP president Amit Shah and other senior BJP leaders on various issues, he has not decided to join the BJP. "But if the BJP wants my service they can utilise it. I am interested in work for the nation building and development of the country. I will disclose my future move in two days," he said.
With BJP firmly in saddle in Karnataka, the saffron party is expected to sent its own representative to the Upper House from the state when the bypoll takes place and rising its strength to 83. It is not clear whether Ramamurthy, a former Inspector General of Police in Karnataka and chairman of the CMR Jnanadhara Trust that runs educational institutions, will be renominated by BJP.
The BJP had managed to wean away 15 MLAs from Congress and JD(S), who resigned, in Karnataka that led to the collapse of the coalition government led by H D Kumaraswamy and subsequent installation B S Yediyurappa-led dispensation in the state.
With numbers stacked against it, the BJP had also engineered a split among TDP Rajya Sabha MPs with four out of six joining the saffron party. It had also inducted lone INLD MP into its fold while ensuring that the three Samajwadi Party MPs, who resigned, returned to the Upper House in the bypolls.
BJP now has the support of 118 lawmakers and need three more in a House of 240. There are five vacancies and if these are filled it would need 123.
However, with TRS, BJD, YSR Congress and BSP coming to the help of the Narendra Modi government, the BJP is better placed in Rajya Sabha where in its first term had faced trouble from the Opposition.