In a fresh setback to the wobbly coalition government in Karnataka, two Congress MLAs on Monday resigned from the state assembly, reducing the party’s strength to 78 in the 225-member House. Congress MLA from Vijayanagar, Anand Singh and MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi from Gokak in Belagavi district submitted their resignation letters to the assembly speaker.
“Yes. I have resigned. Today morning, I submitted the resignation,” Singh was quoted as saying by PTI.
The MLA refused to disclose the reason behind his step. He said that he will meet Governor Vajubhai Vala and inform him about his decision.
Hours later, Jarkiholi stepped down, ANI reported. He was earlier accused of hobnobbing with the BJP.
Recently, Singh had held a press conference in Ballari against the sale of 3,667 acres of land to JSW Steel in which he had hinted that he would step down. It is speculated that he would join the BJP.
When told that Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar was yet to confirm his resignation, Singh said, “Is it so? Then I will resign again.”
The speaker, however, denied having received any resignation. “I have not received any resignation. Nobody had approached me to give me any resignation,” he said.
Taking to Twitter, JD(S) leader and Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, who is presently in the US, said he was aware of the political developments in the state.
“The foundation laying of Kalabhairaveshwara Temple is going on at New Jersey under the aegis of Swamiji. I am watching all the developments from here. BJP is daydreaming to destabilise the government,” he tweeted.
Earlier in January, he had come to blows with another Congress MLA J N Ganesh at a resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Ganesh had accused him of finishing him politically. A badly injured Singh was later admitted to hospital.
Reports were rife that at least six more MLAs from Congress would also rebel against their party.
Last year, the Congress-JDS coalition had formed an alliance to keep out the BJP, which had won 105 seats in the state elections to the 225-member house. With the resignations, the Congress is now left with 77 members, including the Speaker.
Kumaraswamy’s party, on the other hand, has 37 seats. The coalition is also supported by the BSP and an Independent lawmaker.
In the recently held Lok Sabha polls, Congress and the JD(S) failed to make a mark with BJP bagging 25 of the 28 seats along with an Independent backed by it leaving just one seat each to the coalition partners.