Former Karnataka cabinet minister and Congress leader, Ramesh Jarkiholi on Tuesday confirmed his long suspected intention to quit the national party, lending to claims made by the opposition of forming the government after the results of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
Jarkiholi, who along with at least three other rebels have been threatening to quit the Congress, did not specify his future course of action.
Jarkiholi’s statements bringing to the fore the problems faced by the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress coalition that has been on shaky ground ever since the two parties joined together in May last year.
“I have already said that I will resign, only have to decide when to do this," Jarkiholi said on Tuesday in Belagavi. The former minister, who was removed from the cabinet in December last year, has been threatening to quit the party and defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with a few other rebels putting the coalition, that rests on a slender majority, on notice.
Jarkiholi said that no one from his party has spoken to him or tried to convince him to stay back.
The legislator from Gokak constituency had missed a crucial Congress legislature party meet in January and February, despite the party issuing a whip. The Congress leadership issued notices to all four rebels--Jarkiholi, Umesh Jadhav, B.Nagendra and Mahesh Kumatahalli--under the stringent anti-defection laws.
Jadhav has since quit the national party and is contesting the ongoing parliamentary polls from the Kalaburagi parliamentary constituency on a BJP ticket.
Though the H.D.Kumaraswamy-led coalition has successfully thwarted off alleged attempts by the BJP to convince alliance legislators to defect, the threat to the government has never been out of question.
The death of C.S.Shivalli in March brought down the strength of the coalition to 117 that includes 79 from the Congress and 37 from the JD(S) and one from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). One Congress legislator, J.N. Ganesh is currently lodged in jail for assaulting the Vijayanagara MLA in a drunken brawl earlier this year.
The BJP has 104 legislators in the 224 member house.
Kundgol that was represented by Shivalli and Chincholi that fell vacant after Jadhav’s resignation will head to the by-polls on 19 May.