Bengaluru: Karnataka continued to hog the limelight with resignation drama unfolding in the state throughout the day on Monday. (Also read: ‘Not Immediately But Sure to Form Govt in Karnataka,’ Says Amit Shah)
The day began with Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara of the Congress offering to resign and ended with party MLA Roshan Baig getting defiant and emotional at the same time. He claimed the party hadn’t played fair and was willing to join the BJP. He even asked, “Usmein kya buri baat hai? BJP is also a political party.”
Two Independent MLAs had resigned from the H D Kumaraswamy Cabinet and extended support to the BJP, reducing the Karnataka coalition government to a minority. A leading daily quoted a BJP functionary as saying that another four-five MLAs were set to leave. This included suspended Baig.
In all, 21 Congress and nine JD(S) ministers resigned to make way for the 13 dissident legislators who moved to Goa in the evening. The Chief Minister’s Office said a Cabinet reshuffle would happen soon. The CM assured his government would survive and that there was no need to worry.
However, BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa said that such a statement from the CM when resignations had kept coming was not right and that people were watching. He said his party was also planning to wait and watch if the alliance would step down on its own.
CLP leader Siddaramaiah claimed, “Our ministers have voluntarily resigned to help save the government. We will try to accommodate those MLAs who have resigned & interested to be the ministers. We will reshuffle the Cabinet keeping regional aspirations & social obligations in mind. I, on behalf of Congress party, request all those who have resigned to reconsider their decision & strengthen our government.”
Congress leader and minister D K Shivakumar claimed that “Nagesh (Independent MLA who had resigned as minister and promised support to BJP) called me and said that he has been hijacked by Mr Yeddyurappas’ PA and BJP. By the time I reached the airport the flight had left.”
Reports said Shivakumar also rushed to Mumbai but it wasn’t clear if he could meet the rebel MLAs because the latter were reported to have moved to Goa.
In the Lok Sabha, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh happily put the blame on Congress outgoing President Rahul Gandhi. He said, “Our party has nothing to do with what is happening in Karnataka. Our party has never indulged in horse trading,” adding that Rahul was to be blamed for the flurry of resignations because he was the one to have started it.
While Congress MLAs were carted from Mumbai hotel to Goa, JDS MLAs cooling their heels at a Bengaluru hotel were ferried to Nandi Hills.
Senior leaders on either end of the spectrum got into a huddle. BJP held its parliamentary party meeting. Later, Yeddyurappa said, “Now we are having BJP legislative party meeting & we are going to take appropriate decision there. Tomorrow all our workers will protest because Congress-JD(S) lost the majority so CM should resign immediately. That is the people’s aspiration also.”
By late evening, the Congress had held a meeting to mull over the legal course of action against rebel MLAs while the BJP was confident it had the numbers to stake a claim to the government. Yeddyurappa said, “Two Independent MLAs met the Governor and gave the letter that they’ll support BJP, now we’re 105 + 2 = 107. Even when they’ve lost the majority, Kumaraswamy is speaking like that, people are observing everything. Let us see & wait.”