Bangalore: A bid to topple the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka on Wednesday by former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa was foiled, but the threat to the survival of the government remains.
On Wednesday, 13 BJP legislators who are supporters of Yeddyurappa approached the assembly speaker K.G. Bopaiah’s office to tender their resignations, but were sent back as the speaker was travelling outside the country.
Following this, the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) visited governor H.R. Bhardwaj and sought his intervention in having their resignations accepted.
Yeddyurappa, who quit from the BJP recently after he was forced to step down as the chief minister following charges of corruption, said the government had been reduced to a minority and had no moral right to continue in office.
Yeddyurappa’s move to bring down the BJP government comes two weeks before it is to present the crucial state budget for 2013-14 ahead of the upcoming assembly elections scheduled for May.
Earlier in the day, public works minister C.M. Udasi and energy minister Shobha Karandlaje submitted their resignations from the cabinet to the new chief minister Jagadish Shettar, announcing they will join Yeddyurappa’s newly launched Karnataka Janata Party.
They were also among those who tendered their resignations from the state assembly.
“The governor assured us that suitable action as per constitutional provisions will be taken,” said Udasi, emerging out of the meeting with the governor.
Karandlaje accused the BJP of manipulating the office of the speaker, alleging that Bopaiah left for the tour abroad Tuesday night after he had been informed of the planned resignations.
The BJP government’s survival is still up in the air, as the speaker will have to deal with the resignation letters before the commencement of the budget session on 4 February.
Currently, the BJP enjoys the support of 118 MLAs in the 225-member assembly, while the opposition Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) parties have 71 and 26 MLAs respectively. Two assembly seats are vacant after earlier resignations by MLAs.
If the resignations of the 13 MLAs are accepted, the strength of the house will drop to 212, and the BJP’s strength to 105. It needs to garner the support of 106 MLAs to avoid a defeat if a no-confidence motion is called.
Shettar, on a tour in North Karnataka, said the BJP has the requisite support to win a no-confidence vote. The BJP could also remain in power if the Congress or the JD(S) abstain from a no-confidence motion.
Jain University pro vice-chancellor and political analyst Sandeep Shastri said the resignations were expected. “What is interesting is the timing, especially in light of what is happening on the national front with the BJP. The resignations were also meant to hasten the crisis within the party on the eve of the budget,” he said.
But Shastri sees the BJP using the advantage it has being in power as a leverage to lure the MLAs back to the party.
Yeddyurappa became chief minister in 2008 after the BJP won the Karnataka elections. His tenure was marked by a series of rebellions and corruption cases and he was forced to step down in July 2011 after being implicated in a report on illegal mining submitted by the state’s anti-corruption ombudsman.