Legislators of Janata Dal (Secular) on Tuesday offered to resign enmasse, if required, to help chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy reshuffle the cabinet and help stabilise the coalition government in Karnataka.
The offer coming after a two hour legislature party meeting held at the private residence of Kumaraswamy in which almost all leaders of the regional outfit participated including former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda and state ministers including H.D.Revanna.
"The resignations, if required, would be to stand firmly behind Kumaraswamy who can reshuffle the cabinet in the way he sees fit," said one person familiar with the developments, requesting not to be identified.
To be sure, the JD(S) got 12 ministerial berths while the Congress got 24 as part of the post-poll arrangement in May last year. There are three vacancies within the 34 total berths currently and the coalition is using them to placate disgruntled legislators and stabilise the fragile alliance.
Though much of the dissent has emanated from within the Congress, the JD(S) has been trying to help contain the situation, even at the cost of its own interests.
JD(S) legislators also requested that the resignation of its party president, A.H.Vishwanath, not be accepted as the blame of the Lok Sabha poll debacle could not be pinned on one person alone.
Vishwanath had announced to step down over multiple issues including the "conspiracy" by its coalition partner, Congress to defeat Deve Gowda and for not being taken into confidence for key decisions. Vishwanath also blamed coordination and monitoring committee chief, Siddaramaiah, for not being able to come up with the common minimum programme (CMP) almost a year since it was announced.
The JD(S)-Congress alliance, that had been decimated in the parliamentary polls by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is trying to reconcile it's differences to save the Kumaraswamy government or risk losing power to the saffron outfit.
But the rising dissent, especially related to the proposed cabinet expansion, has kept the government on the edge. Senior Congress leader, Ramalinga Reddy on Tuesday hit out at the senior leadership in a series of tweets. The former minister blamed the exclusion of seniors and non-performance of some ministers as the reason for the Lok Sabha poll debacle.
Supporters of Reddy held protests outside the Congress office demanding that their leader be included in the cabinet.
Though it has not yet been finalised, the two independents--R.Shankar and H.Nagesh--are being considered to fill up two of the three vacant berths in the cabinet from the JD(S) share of ministerial berths. Ramesh Jarkiholi and B.C.Patil are front runners for the vacant spot in the Congress share.
The decision to placate Jarkiholi, who has publicly announced to resign from the party, has angered several ministerial aspirants within the Congress who feel that rebellion is being rewarded.
The JD(S) and Congress, however, willing to take no chances to contain dissent and retain power in Karnataka.