On a day that five more rebel MLAs approached the Supreme Court, accusing Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh of sitting on their resignations and saying they were “being threatened to support the government”, deep divisions emerged within the BJP in Karnataka on the issue of staking claim to form a new government.
With a section of the BJP that’s aligned to the party’s high command not in favour of forming a new government given the hung nature of the current Assembly, the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition is hopeful of winning the trust vote that Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy sought on Friday.
The lack of cohesion in the state BJP, coupled with efforts of the Congress to bring back a few of its more amenable rebels (13 of the 16 who resigned since July 6 are Congress MLAs) to the legislature for the trust vote, are likely to help the coalition win the trust vote”.
“A few of the Opposition members may not turn up for the vote. There are also efforts to convince some of the rebels who did not go to Mumbai,’’ said a state Congress source.
Opinion | Beware of defectors
Kumaraswamy’s announcement on Friday in the state Assembly that he would seek a trust vote took the Yeddyurappa-led BJP by surprise since the veteran leader and his supporters are keen on forming a government with the Congress-JD(S) dissidents.
Yeddyurappa did not attend a meeting of the Business Advisory Council of the Assembly to schedule the trust vote and stated that he would like to wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on pleas filed by 10 rebel MLAs – now 15, after five more MLAs moved the court on Saturday — for acceptance of their resignations.
If the resignations of the 16 rebel MLAs of the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition are accepted, the coalition will have 101 MLAs in the 224-member House versus the BJP’s 105.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior BJP leader aligned with the Central leadership of the party said that while Yeddyurappa and his supporters have been going all out to topple the coalition, the party’s leadership in New Delhi is not actively involved in efforts to form a new government in the state.”
“We don’t want to form a government at this juncture. We are opposing it. Some of the party leaders are trying to form the government claiming the sanction of Amit Shah. We already have many leaders in our fold who are notorious for blackmailing for power. Forming a government with the support of defectors who are not aligned to any ideology other than money will be disastrous for the future of the BJP in Karnataka and push the party back by 10 years.’’
He added that the party is more keen on facing Assembly elections and winning a clear majority to form the government”
“The current drama is a result of Siddaramaiah’s manipulation and Yeddyurappa’s greed for power… Given the numbers in this current Assembly, (BJP 105, Congress 79, JD(S) 37 and three others), no government can run smoothly,’’ the senior BJP leader said, adding th”t “most people in the party feel mid-term polls are the best opt”on”.
Incidentally, soon after the parliamentary polls, in which the BJP won 25 of the 28 seats in Karnataka, Yeddyurappa had called for Assembly polls. However, in what is seen as a sign of a last-ditch effort to become CM again by wooing coalition dissidents, Yeddyurappa has opposed mid-term polls.
The Congress on Saturday reached out to two of its rebels, M T B Nagaraj and K Sudhakar, in an effort to convince them to return to the Assembly. Nagaraj, who belongs to the Siddaramaiah camp in the Congress, was taken to Siddaramaiah by senior leader D K Shivakumar to convince him to return to the party.
After the meeting with Siddaramaiah, the Hosakote MLA said he remains with the Congress. Nagaraj “has been convinced and will not go anywhere’’, Congress leader Zameer Ahmed said. Nagaraj was also asked to convince another rebel, Sudhakar, to return to the party fold. Chief Minister Kumaraswamy also visited Siddaramaiah and sought his co-operation in convincing Nagaraj and others to return to the coalition.