Relief for govt as MTB Nagaraj to take back resignation

The Congress-JD(S) coalition celebrated late on Saturday night after rebel legislator MTB Nagaraj said he was ready to withdraw his resignation. (Image courtesy ANI)

The Congress-JD(S) coalition celebrated late on Saturday night after rebel legislator MTB Nagaraj said he was ready to withdraw his resignation. This came after a 15-hour effort to convince him. 

But Nagaraj also said his withdrawal depended on what another rebel K Sudhakar decides to do. Both Nagaraj and Sudhakar had tendered resignation together. And now, Sudhakar has gone incommunicado amid speculation that he may be off to Mumbai to join ten rebels holed up there. 

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The HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition, which is bracing for a trust vote to prove its majority, is making full use of the time it has and is pinning hopes on 5-6 rebel MLAs whose return will help tide over the crisis. And hectic efforts are being made to reach out to them. 

During the floor test, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will have to go from 101 to 108 to surpass the BJP, whose tally currently stands at 107.

Congress' troubleshooter DK Shivakumar reached Nagaraj’s Hoodi house at around 5 am, camping there for nearly five hours pacifying him. Shivakumar was joined by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and other leaders. Nagaraj was then taken to Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah, who spent another couple of hours trying to talk him out of his decision to quit. The effort culminated with the arrival of Kumaraswamy to Siddaramaiah’s residence where he held talks with Nagaraj. 

“I will remain with the party,” Nagaraj told reporters. Later, he said he would decide based on Sudhakar’s move. “Wherever Sudhakar is, I will contact him by Sunday afternoon and convince him. We had decided that we’d be together in staying or leaving. Now I’ve to convince him to stay. If he doesn’t come back, what will do I alone?” Nagaraj said. 

Nagaraj, the Housing minister, did not relent for the most part, which resulted in the amount of time it took to convince him. He had tendered resignation accusing the “interference” of Kumaraswamy’s brother, Public Works Minister HD Revanna in governance affairs, among other issues. 

Shivakumar, who anchored the convincing effort, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister Krishna Byre Gowda have taken it upon themselves to address Nagaraj’s issues in the government. “We’ve decided to forget the bad things of the past and stay united,” Shivakumar said. 

Another ray of hope came from senior leader Ramalinga Reddy when he said he would attend the Assembly session on Monday. “I have to attend a hearing of the Speaker over my resignation on Monday. Till then, I will not comment on any political development,” Reddy said. 

Reddy’s return, sources say, will have a bearing on other Bengaluru MLAs who have resigned - ST Somashekhar, Muniratna and Byrati Basavaraj. Also, the party is trying to convince another senior MLA R Roshan Baig.

Siddaramaiah expressed confidence that other rebels will be back before the confidence vote is moved. 

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