In final bid to save govt, 21 Congress ministers resign

With this, the Congress leadership wants to reconstitute the Cabinet by offering plum positions to rebel legislators who have resigned.

In a last ditch effort to save the government’s ship from sinking, 21 Congress ministers in Karnataka tendered their resignation on Monday allowing the party leadership to lure rebel legislators back by offering them Cabinet positions.

This includes Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.

The 34-member Cabinet had 22 Congress ministers and 12 of the JD(S). Except for Independent legislator R Shankar who was made a minister under its quota, the rest 21 Congress ministers have resigned.

"They have resigned voluntarily, on their own volition, in the interest of the party," AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka KC Venugopal told reporters. Congress ministers decided to resign en masse at a breakfast meeting Parameshwara hosted.

With this, the Congress leadership wants to reconstitute the Cabinet by offering plum positions to rebel legislators who have resigned.

As many as 13 legislators - ten from the Congress and three JD(S) - have resigned, with most of them camping in a Mumbai hotel. Earlier in the day, Independent legislator H Nagesh resigned as a minister and withdrew his support to the ruling coalition, dealing another blow to the HD Kumaraswamy-led government.

"The party now has full freedom to reconstitute the government," Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said. "Those ministerial aspirants who have resigned, we are ready for talks. Don't make hasty decisions," he appealed. "While we don't expect all of them to come back, those who are eligible (to become ministers) and those who're unhappy we will accommodate," he added.

"Our ministers have voluntarily resigned to dilute the situation," Siddaramaiah said.

By dangling 21 Cabinet positions before rebel legislators, the Congress hopes to keep the coalition government intact. "This is the 6th attempt by the BJP to destabilize the government. They will fail, just like their past five attempts," Siddaramaiah said. "The coalition government will be saved and it will continue."

Venugopal also said he was "still confident" that the government will continue.

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