Jolt to Cong-JD(S) as Ramalinga Reddy resigns

Senior Congress legislator Ramalinga Reddy announced Saturday his decision to resign, even as speculation is rife that nearly a dozen party MLAs are likely to resign, which could spell doom for the 13-month-old Congress-JD(S) coalition government. 

“I’ve been associated with the Congress since my student days, and it pains me that I have to leave,” Reddy told reporters in Vidhana Soudha, where he said he had come to tender his resignation as MLA of the BTM Layout constituency. Reddy is a 7-time MLA and 4-time minister.

This comes as another jolt to the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition as two other Congress MLAs - Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi - resigned earlier this week. 

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“I have already stated my reasons in the past. I’m not going to say it again,” Reddy said. The former minister has been disgruntled ever since the Congress-JD(S) coalition came to power. He has been a ministerial aspirant and has attacked the Congress leadership for “neglecting” seniors. 

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) working president Eshwar Khandre held talks with Reddy earlier in the day. “He tried to convince me against resigning, but I told him my reasons,” Reddy said.

Drama is unfolding at Vidhana Soudha where nearly a dozen Congress and JD(S) legislators have arrived, supposedly to tender their resignation. 

Earlier in the day, Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar dismissed speculation that MLAs would resign. “It’s just a rumour. Trust me, and don’t trust them,” Kumar told reporters. However, Kumar left for Jayadeva Hospital where his relative is admitted. By then, some MLAs had arrived at his Vidhana Soudha office. When asked about it, Kumar lost his cool. “Are you human beings? Don’t you have a sense of shame? My relative is on the death bed. Get out from here,” he thundered. 

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah is yet to react to the developments, while Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is leaving the US and is expected to arrive here Sunday. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Dinesh Gundu Rao is in Europe with family. 

Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar, who is considered to be the Congress’ Man Friday, decided to cut short his programmes in his Kanakapura constituency. “I’m going back to Bengaluru. While I’m confident none of our leaders will fall prey to the BJP’s attempts (of poaching), I need to verify the ground reality,” he said.

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