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Kumaraswamy ‘Relaxed’ as 2 Exits Jolt Coalition Govt, Cong Says Will Take 6 BJP MLAs if They Take 3

H Nagesh said that he decided to withdraw support as there was 'no understanding between coalition partners'.

Sharath Sharma Kalagaru | News18

Updated:January 15, 2019, 7:09 PM IST
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Bengaluru: Two Independent MLAs, H Nagesh and R Shankar, withdrew their support from the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka on Tuesday, amid reports that BJP was trying to poach disgruntled legislators.

Ranebennuru MLA R Shankar and Mulabagil MLA H Nagesh wrote to Governor Vajhubhai Rudhubhai Vala, informing him that they are withdrawing support “with immediate effect.”

R Shankar was the forest, environment and ecology minister in the Kumaraswamy Cabinet and was later made the district in charge minister but lost his portfolio in the most recent cabinet expansion. Shankar, while speaking to news agency ANI, said he had done his best as a cabinet minister but the government did not let him continue his service.

"CM HD Kumaraswamy failed on several fronts. That's why we have decided to withdraw the support," he told CNN-News18.

Elaborating on the decision, Nagesh said he decided to withdraw support as there was "no understanding between coalition partners". "Hence, I decided to go with the BJP for a stable government," he said.

Meanwhile, sources in the Congress said that there was no need to panic as the BJP still needs to get at least 14 to 15 MLAs. "Our tally without the Independents is 80 plus 37, while BJP is at 104," they said.

Sources in the Congress also warned that if the BJP tries to lure three of its MLA, the Congress will poach six BJP lawmakers in return.

CM HD Kumaraswamy also expressed confidence that his government is stable. “I am totally relaxed, I know my strength. I am enjoying what is going on,” he said.

"We have been saying that BJP is luring our MLAs through money and power but their attempts to destabilise the government will fail," Deputy CM G Parameshwara said, adding that their government is stable.

In the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, the Congress has 80 MLAs, the JD(S) has 37, BSP one and two are Independents, who together constitute the ruling coalition. The BJP has 104 MLAs. At least 14 MLAs will have to resign to bring the House strength down to ensure BJP's elevation to power.

The BJP has shifted at least 99 out of the total 104 BJP MLAs in the state to a resort in Gurgaon near Delhi, fearing “poaching attempts by JDS and Congress”. Yeddyurappa claims that he is protecting them from the Kumaraswamy government.

A week ago, former chief minister Siddaramaiah had dropped a bombshell claiming that the BJP was offering Rs 30 crore to each MLA who was willing to defect.

Since breaking the JD(S) with 37 MLAs is difficult, the BJP seems to be focusing on Congress MLAs from North Karnataka region.

Congress leaders claim that after a severe drubbing in the just-concluded Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland, the BJP had halted ‘Operation Kamala’ in Karnataka. But the changing political dynamics in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar seems to be forcing the saffron party to try one more time, they say.

"Karnataka is a cash cow for any party in New Delhi. By toppling the government ahead of Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is trying to choke Congress and JD(S) resources," said a Congress leader from the state.

JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda has expressed confidence that the BJP will fail once again in its attempt. The Congress, meanwhile, is trying to reach out to fence-sitters and disgruntled MLAs, promising them plum posts.

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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