Karnataka’s Political Drama at Its Peak
With resignation of 14 MLAs, and independent MLA and minister Nagesh quitting the government and declaring his support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the BJP has gained the numbers required to form the government in the state.
If there are 14 members resigning, then the total strength of the house will be 210. Excluding the speaker, it will be 209. The magic number – minimum number of seats required to form a government – then will be 105. BJP already has 106 MLAs. If all the 14 MLAs’ resignations are accepted, the total strength of the coalition will be 104, and the government will fall. However, two questions that are floating around are: will the heads of the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) [JD(S)] let this happen? And What are the chances of the BJP forming its government?
The most important question, however, that hopefully is haunting the Congress and the JD(S) is, had they stuck together and focused on strengthening their policies in the state for the people, would the present situation have arisen?
If the Congress and the JD(S) succeed in retaining its government, the policies that would get the people of the state on their side ought to be their focus, thus sidelining the BJP from the state politics.
Damage control by the Congress and JD(S)
Since Saturday, following the resignation of the MLAs, there have been a series of meetings headed by the JD(S) supremo H D Devegowda at his residence. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy cut short his private visit to the United States of America and returned to the capital city of Bengaluru on Sunday evening. The question that was discussed in depth in these meetings obviously was, what is to be done to save the government?
As many as four MLAs of the Congress have mentioned in their resignations that they would withdraw their resignations if former CM Siddaramaiah is made the CM. Many others including the members of the JD(S) are not happy with Kumaraswamy as the CM. However, not surprisingly, the possibility of Siddaramaiah being the CM was discarded by veteran leader Devegowda. The personal animosity between Siddaramaiah, who was in the past with the JD(S), and Devegowda is a public secret. Gowda had suggested that the Congress veteran leader, Mallikarjun Kharge, was a suitable candidate for the post of the CM. Kharge, however, has declined this proposal.
The other possibility that was discussed was cabinet reshuffling to accommodate the disgruntled MLAs in the ministerial positions. The Hindu reported, “In a desperate attempt to save the government, all 21 ministers from the Congress have voluntarily resigned from the Cabinet. This is to enable the reconstitution of a fresh cabinet by accommodating disgruntled MLAs.” This shows that the Congress and the JD(S) are striving really hard to save the government.
What happens to BJP?
B S Yeddyurappa, the state president of the BJP, has a record of being the chief minister of the state for one day. That is the level of desperation of the BJP to form its government.
The Hindu reported that CM H D Kumaraswamy is likely to convene an emergency meeting of the Cabinet on Monday. The cabinet is expected to send a resolution to Governor Vajubhai Vala, seeking postponement of the monsoon session of the legislature that is scheduled to begin on July 12. One has to remember that the current governor has been favourable towards the BJP in the past. Even though the post-poll coalition of the Congress and JD(S) achieved a majority, the governor had invited the BJP to form its government.
However, the BJP had failed to prove its majority in the Assembly. The parties will now yet again have to prove their majority on the floor. In case the damage control methods of the Congress and JD(S) work and even half of the resigned MLAs withdraw their resignations, the government stands. If it doesn’t work this way, then the BJP, with a majority, will form its government.
Here, we have to note that there will be 14 vacancies in the assembly and a byelection will be held in all these 14 seats. What will be interesting is to see if all these candidates be given BJP tickets.
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