Congress and Janata Dal-Secular ministers in HD Kumaraswamy’s government on Monday sent in their resignation as part of a last-ditch effort to keep the coalition government afloat. “All JD(S) ministers have resigned like their Congress counterparts,” the Karnataka Chief Minister’s office tweeted on Monday, announcing that HD Kumaraswamy would reconstitute his council of ministers soon.
The announcement by Chief Minister Kumaraswamy’s office came hours after the Congress asked its 21 ministers to step down to make space in his new council of ministers for the dozen-odd rebel legislators who have sent in their resignation letters.
Twelve legislators – nine of them from the Congress and three from JDS – had resigned from the state assembly on Saturday. They cited different reasons for their decision but there is a view in the Congress that it might be possible to persuade them to change their mind if the party had something to offer. A ministerial berth was the consensus.
The plan was firmed up at a breakfast meeting convened by Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parameshwara. Soon after state Congress leader, Priyank Kharge told Hindustan Times that the Congress ministers had sent their resignation to Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao. By evening, the JDS ministers also followed suit.
KC Venugopal, the senior Congress leader sent from Delhi to see if the coalition government can survive its biggest crisis, said the ministers had resigned voluntarily.
“I sincerely thank the ministers for their sacrifice for defeating the anti-democratic attitude of BJP. We believe in the MLAs and we are ready to discuss everything. Those who resigned should come back and strengthen their own party,” he said.
Siddaramaiah added that the rebel MLAs, who were unhappy that they did not get a berth in the year-old Kumaraswamy, would be accommodated. “Reshuffle means a total reshuffle,” he told reporters.
Many of the rebel MLAs have insisted that they didn’t quit because they were left out of Kumaraswamy’s cabinet but had their own reasons.
For instance, Independent MLA H Nagesh, who switched sides from the ruling coalition to the BJP on Monday, had been inducted to the cabinet just last month. The Congress’ calculation appears to be that if the lure of a cabinet berth can convince just some of the MLAs to withdraw their resignation letters, the Kumaraswamy government would continue to stay above the majority-mark when the July 12 budget session of the state assembly begins.
Venugopal, who pinned the blame for the resignation of the ruling coalition MLAs on the BJP, said the BJP had offered money and cabinet berths to the rebels. “The country never witnessed anything like this. This is the sixth attempt to destabilise the government,” he said, insisting that the coalition was confident that the BJP will “fail terribly” at its effort too.