A month into ministership, Independent MLAs quit govt

Nagesh (L), who was inducted into the Cabinet just last month, has written to Governor Vajubhai R Vala stating that he would extend support to the BJP if the saffron party formed its government.

Call it an irony. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had inducted two Independent MLAs – R Shankar and H Nagesh – into his Cabinet less than a month ago to safeguard his government. But the two legislators on Monday reduced the coalition government into a minority, by pulling back their support.

Nagesh, who is MLA from Mulbagal, was the first one to give the shocker to the coalition government. He submitted two letters to Governor Vajubhai Vala: one his resignation as minister and another withdrawing support to the government. He was Small Scale Industries minister.

Shankar, who is MLA from Ranebennur, followed in the footsteps of Nagesh later in the day. They both flew to Mumbai and joined 13 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs who have already resigned. With the withdrawal of support by two Independent MLAs, the strength of the coalition government has come down to 104 – one less than BJP’s 105 in the Assembly.

Both of them announced to extend their support to the BJP. The two Independents were inducted into the Cabinet despite stiff opposition in the Congress and the JD(S). In fact, induction of Independents into the Cabinet is one of the reasons for the disgruntled MLAs, who were aspiring to be ministers, to rebel against their parties and tender their resignation.

Shankar is also known as “flip-flop Shankar” in the political circles for switching loyalty between the Congress and the BJP many times in the past one year. Soon after the Assembly election results were announced, he had identified with the BJP. Later, he went to the Congress-JD(S) camp after he was offered a ministerial post.

In December last year, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy dropped him from the Cabinet for refusing to become an associate member of the Congress. Then, in the few days, he was seen in the BJP camp. He came back to the Congress last month after he was offered ministerial berth. With the coalition government being on the verge of collapse, he jumped back to the BJP.

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