Congress MLA in Karnataka Umesh Jadhav submitted his resignation from the state legislature to Speaker Ramesh Kumar on Monday.
His exit will reduce the strength of Congress-JDS coalition in the 224 member Assembly to 116. The resignation will reduce also the strength of the house to 223, making 112 the simple majority number needed to run the government.
Jadhav, who belongs to the Lambani group, a tribal community included among scheduled castes in Karnataka, had been elected from the constituency twice — in 2013 and 2018.
Sources said Jadhav had committed himself heavily to the BJP during poaching attempts over the past six months, making it difficult to reconsider his decision to leave the Congress. Photographs of Jadhav in the company of BJP leaders at a hotel in Mumbai were circulated during a rebellion in January this year.
The MLA also had a long-running battle with senior Congress leader and Kalaburagi MP Mallikarjun Kharge and his son, state minister Priyank Kharge, for control of Chincholi. He was among a group of Scheduled Tribe leaders in the Congress who have been jousting for positions.
Jadhav was expected to quit the Congress, and is tipped to be fielded as BJP candidate for Kalaburagi against Kharge.
The Congress has the option of seeking his disqualification on account of a letter written to the Speaker by legislative party leader Siddaramaiah. The letter had sought the disqualification of four Congress rebels, including Jadhav, who had failed to attend a legislature party meeting. Party sources said the resignation would be accepted by the Speaker.