JD(S)-Congress Government In Karnataka Teetering On The Brink Of Collapse As Over 10 MLAs Rebel

JD(S)-Congress Government In Karnataka Teetering On The Brink Of Collapse As Over 10 MLAs RebelFormer Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah with Janata Dal (S) Chief Minister Kumaraswamy during an event in Bengaluru. (Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The already troubled Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka is now teetering on the brink of collapse. Since last night, speculations are rife in the political circles that more than 10 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of the Congress have rebelled against the ruling alliance.

The Congress MLAs, who remain unidentified, are said to be currently ensconced in an undisclosed location in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. Congress party crisis managers suspect that most of these MLAs are either supporters of the powerful Jarkiholi brothers of Belagavi or that of Anand Singh, a mining baron from Bellary who was earlier with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and later defected to Congress. Singh had given several anxious moments to the Congress in run-up to the formation of the government with hints that he had already decided to rejoin BJP.

Deccan Herald reports that Hoskote MLA M T B Nagaraj and Chikkaballapur MLA K Sudhakar (both Congress) and Mulbagal MLA H Nagesh (independent, supporting Congress-JD(S) government) have left for Chennai and rumours are agog that they would reach Mumbai on Sunday and join other rebels. These three MLAs are reportedly angry over the party’s failure to deliver on the promise of inducting them into the government.

Lending further credence to speculations that Jarkiholi brothers will be engineering a revolt, they refused to go to Delhi for rapprochement with the party high command. The brothers claim to have the support of 16 MLAs. They are at loggerheads with the Congress’ water resources minister and powerful leader D K Shivakumar, who is facing the possibility of arrest by the Enforcement Directorate over money laundering charges.

The Jarkiholi brothers have accused Shivakumar of attempting to spread his influence to north Karnataka using his close aide MLA Laxmi Hebalkar.

Meanwhile, JD(S) sought the speaker’s intervention to foil what it describes as attempts by BJP to get the MLAs of the ruling coalition to resign. BJP has urged the governor to take steps to prosecute Kumaraswamy under the sedition law for saying he would have to ask people to revolt against the saffron party.

Many BJP watchers suggest that state unit chief B S Yeddyurappa may have already stitched up the requisite numbers to form the next government, but the party seems have adopted a wait and watch approach before giving a green signal for a decisive push.