NEW DELHI :
The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S) could face fresh challenges in the Rajya Sabha because of the trouble the coalition of the two parties is facing in Karnataka.
Three Rajya Sabha members of the coalition, D. Kupendra Reddy of the JD(S) and B.K. Hariprasad and Rajeev Gowda of the Congress, are set to retire about a year from now in June next year.
Senior leaders of the two parties are worried about the impact the woes of the coalition may have on the election of the members for these three seats once they become vacant.
More than a dozen members of the legislative Assembly (MLAs) from the Congress have tendered their resignation over the weekend. As such, the tally of the ruling coalition could come down drastically and thus threaten the future of the government.
Senior party leaders feel that this may have a collateral impact on the number of parliamentarians of the Congress and the JD(S) in the Rajya Sabha from the state.
“Of course, the immediate priority is to salvage the state government. However, it is linked with other worries," a senior Congress leader from the state said requesting anonymity.
“We are confident of a stable government. However, if these resignations get accepted and irrespective of whether there are bypolls or fresh polls, our chances in the Rajya Sabha will get worse," the leader said.
Congress’ current tally in the legislative assembly is 79 out of whom 10 have resigned while JDS has 37 MLAs of whom three have resigned. With a 105 members, the coalition’s prospects at securing its incumbent Rajya Sabha seat is already under threat and more resignations could further spoil their prospects.
In total, the Congress’ strength in the Rajya Sabha is 48. It has seen a gradual decline in the last five years with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning a series of state elections and currently having 78 members in the Upper House.
The issue was raised by Congress leaders in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Congress leaders raised banners of protest in the House with slogans like “Save Democracy" and “Loktantra Bachao" .
“Parliamentary democracy has been a victim of conspiracy and undermining institutions. In Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, efforts are being made for the governments to fall," Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, chief of Congress party in the Lok Sabha said in Zero Hour.
After Chowdhury’s attack, union minister Rajnath Singh, speaking on the government’s behalf said the BJP had nothing to do with the political crisis in Karnataka.
“Our party has nothing to do with what is happening in Karnataka. History is witness that our party has never got anyone to shift sides. I want to say that we have not started this, it is Rahul Gandhi who started series of resignations in Congress and others are following their leader," Singh said while taking a jibe at Gandhi.