Coalition govt jittery after Anand, Ramesh resign

Anand Singh, MLA, Vijayanagar, Ballari district, shows a copy of his resignation letter after after submitting it to Governor at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru on Monday. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

Disgruntled Congress MLAs Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi’s decision to resign, ahead of the legislature session, has caused jitters to the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government.

The government has convened the crucial session from July 12 to seek approval for, among others, full budget for the 2019-20 financial year. The coalition managers are keeping their fingers crossed as there is a likelihood of other disgruntled legislators following in the footsteps of Singh and Ramesh, to get their demands fulfilled.

The legislature had approved a vote on account budget (for first four months of the financial year) in February this year.

The threat of rebellion has been looming large over the coalition government as over a dozen the Congress and JD(S) legislators are upset over denial of ministerial berths. Singh is actually miffed with the Congress leaders for not inducting him in the Cabinet, while Jarkiholi had demanded deputy chief minister’s post.

It is feared that the Opposition BJP would try to fish in the troubled waters and would poach these MLAs to topple the government. But bringing the government down is easier said than done. For, a minimum of 15 legislators of the coalition should quit, if the BJP is to form an alternative government.

Currently, the coalition has 119 MLAs in the 224-member Assembly, including Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi. The BJP, which has 105 MLAs on its side, can stake the claim to form the government if a minimum of 15 Congress and JD(S) legislators resign. The strength of the Assembly comes down to 209, if 15 MLAs quit and 105 will then become the simple majority required to form the government.

Though BJP sources confirmed that efforts were being made to lure the disgruntled MLAs of the coalition, many of them were said to be not ready to take the extreme step of resignation. One of the reasons is that these MLAs are not sure of their getting re-elected. And they are also hopeful of getting ministerial berth by year end when the present Cabinet is likely to be reshuffled.

However, the BJP’s central leadership is said to have directed the state unit not to indulge in 'operation lotus' (poaching of MLAs) openly, lest it dents the party’s image. Hence, the state leaders had been maintaining that their party will try to form an alternative government only if the coalition government falls on its own.

The saffon party is said to planning to move a no-confidence motion during the session, if more MLAs of the coalition come forward to resign. “The party will wait and watch. We will see how things pan out in the coalition,” party sources said.

As per the rule book, the notice for moving no-confidence motion has to be given to the Assembly Speaker 14 days before the last day of the session, to be held till July 26.

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