Bengaluru: In a setback for the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka, two Congress MLAs submitted their resignation from the assembly on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Anand Singh put down his papers. A few hours later, Congress Ramesh Jarkiholi also submitted his resignation to the Speaker.

In his hand-written letter in Kannada, faxed to the office of Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar, Jarkiholi complained his party had “ignored” his seniority after dropping from the cabinet last year. “I have resigned as Gokak legislator for being ignored by the party and the coalition government,” IANS reported him as saying.

His resignation came within hours of party legislator Anand Singh quitting the house to protest the Congress-JD-S coalition government’s plans to sell over 3,667 acres in Ballari to JSW Steel Ltd.

“I have submitted my resignation letter to Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar at his residence, as I am unhappy with the coalition government’s decision to sell the land to Jindal steel firm,” Singh, who represents the Vijayanagar assembly constituency in Ballari, told IANS reporters.

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy who is currently in the US said in a tweet, “I have been observing all the affairs of the state ever since BJP is attempting to destabilize the government.”

Amidst the cracks that are seeming to appear in the ruling coalition in the state, Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said that his party would “explore the possibilities of forming the new government if Congress-JD(S) alliance collapses”.

“Even I have heard about his (Anand Singh’s) resignation through media. We don’t want to destabilise the government… If the government falls on own its own, we will explore the possibilities of forming the new government but there is no question of fresh elections,” NDTV quoted Yeddyurappa as saying.

Reports have surfaced that BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ is back.‘Operation Lotus’ is a reference to the BJP allegedly luring several opposition MLAs by making them resign and contest the elections on the party’s ticket and win to strengthen its numbers in the assembly to ensure the stability of its then-government headed by B S Yeddyurappa in the year 2008.