Karnataka legislative assembly speaker K.R.Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday said he had so far received only one Congress lesiglator’s resignation, giving the coalition a breather and a little more time to deal with the developing political crisis in the state.
Kumar confirmed that he had received Vijayanagara legislator Anand Singh’s resignation but had not received one from Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, who had apparently sent his letter by fax.
“This is not the postal department to (be) accept(ing) fax. I am the speaker of this assembly. Let them (legislators) mind their language before they address the media on these issues. One has to be careful when they deal with the speaker's office," Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru.
Though Jarkiholi has been threatening to quit the Congress ever since he was dropped from the cabinet in December, the sugar baron allegedly sent his resignation by fax on Monday. Jarkiholi’s resignation was on expected lines but the party had not anticipated Singh’s decision that adds to the uncertainty surrounding the Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) and Congress coalition government led by chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy in Karnataka.
Though the Congress is not attempting to retain Jarkiholi, the former is trying to isolate the rebel legislator who threatened to lead a bunch of disgruntled MLAs to resign and possibly defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The coalition had inducted two independents into the cabinet to restrict the latter from siding with the BJP, which has 105 in the 225 (including the nominated member) seater in the lower house.
Another JD(S) legislator on Wednesday claimed to have been offered large sums of money from the BJP to defect.
The Congress says it also has the option of disqualifying Jarkiholi under the stringent anti-defection laws as it has already filed a complaint with the speaker against some of its members for anti-party activities.
The coalition partners, which share a bitter and bloody history, have been unable to overcome insurmountable differences that adversely impacted the alliance's chances at the Lok Sabha elections. The JD(S) and Congress were able to win just one seat each, while the BJP, riding the wave of nationalism led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, won 25 of the 28 parliamentary seats in the state.
H.D.Deve Gowda, JD(S) party supremo and former prime minister, on Wednesday said Congress leaders should sort out the current crisis.
The Congress's central leadership hasn't really intervened as it is embroiled in a crisis of its own after its national president Rahul Gandhi stepped down from the top post, taking responsibility for the Lok Sabha debacle.
State party leaders have not been able to contain the crisis as some of them, like former chief minister Siddaramaiah, are accused of engineering much of the trouble the coalition faces. State Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Kumaraswamy are out of the country, that has left the crisis unattended.
Though the senior leadership of the Congress is confident that more legislators will not follow suit, it is taking no chances and reaching out to its members.
The BJP has feigned innocence, claiming it had nothing to do with the resignation of the Congress legislators. The saffron outfit is hopeful that discord between the leaders and workers of the two parties will lead to an imminent collapse of the government.