Two independent MLAs, H Nagesh from Mulbagal and R Shankar from Ranebennur, have withdrawn their support from the Karnataka government on Tuesday, January 15, amid the huge political crisis going on in the state.

With independent MLAs withdrawal, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s government gets down to 116 from 118, which is close to half-way mark from the majority mark i.e.113.

JD(S) supremo HD Devegowda on Tuesday, 15 January, had a message for all the “evil forces” attempting to topple the state’s coalition government. He tweeted, “Happy Sankranthi to all. I pray that the evil forces trying to topple this farmer-friendly government will not succeed and hope that the festival brings happiness, peace and prosperity to the homes of the peasants and everyone else.”

However, after being asked about the withdrawal of the 2 independent MLAs from his government, CM H D Kumaraswamy said that “I know my strength.”

The political turbulence between Karnataka’s ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition and BJP, alleging each other of horse trading charges on Monday, has reached the national capital with 99 of its 104 BJP MLAs shifting to National Capital Region in a luxury resort in Gurugram. The saffron party alleged that Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is trying to lure his party MLAs with “power and money.”

“A total of 99 legislators are currently at a private resort, while the other five are in Delhi itself and in touch with us,” BJP Karnataka’s spokesman Vamanacharya said. 

Karnataka BJP MLAs at a resort in Gurugram

Meanwhile, Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet that  if allowing “disgraceful” Karnataka BJP leaders to destabilise a government was a “saaf niyat” (clean intention) towards democracy. “Your PR slogans [do] not hide your actual ‘Niyat’,” Siddaramaiah wrote in a tweet.

The whole political drama unfolded on Monday, when State Minister DK Shivkumar accused that the saffron party’s Operation Lotus (a strategy to persuade Congress MLAs to resign from the party and join BJP) is trying to topple the coalition in the state by luring three Congress MLAs, who were staying in Mumbai’s hotel.

“Horse-trading is going on in the state. Three of our MLAs are in Mumbai in a hotel with some BJP MLAs and leaders. We are aware of what has transpired there and how much has been offered to them,” Shivkumar had said.

Shivkumar also accused CM HD Kumaraswamy of being “lenient” towards the BJP. “Our chief minister is a bit lenient towards the BJP. By ‘lenient’, I mean he is not exposing the facts he knows. All the MLAs have conveyed to the chief minister about the on-going conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it.”

After Shivkumar’s allegations, BS Yeddyurappa, BJP’s Karnataka State Chief, accused CM Kumaraswamy of horse trading by “trying to contact BJP MLAs” and has “offered a ministerial post to a Kalburgi MLA.”

“It is not us, but they (JDS-Congress) have started horse-trading. We will stay in Delhi one or two days because Kumaraswamy is trying his level best to contact our MLAs and horse-trading has started.”

Meanwhile, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy said he enjoyed the support of 120 MLAs from the Karnataka Assembly and alleged that Yeddyurappa was making “futile attempts” to destabilise his government.

“I have sufficient numbers for giving a stable government here, it is not necessary for Congress or JD(S) to poach the MLAs from BJP, we have sufficient numbers,” he said in Bengaluru.

When asked about Shivkumar’s claim on Congress MLAs being in the “company of BJP,” CM Kumaraswamy said, “The Congress MLAs have gone to Mumbai after bringing it to my notice; they are in constant touch with me. I spoke to them at 7:30 in the morning. They have gone for personal reasons, and there is no need to add politics to it. If my government is facing instability, is it possible for me to be at ease?”

These “missing” MLAs reportedly include Ramesh Jarakiholi, Anand Singh, B Nagendra, Umesh Jadhav and BC Patil.

Amid the political turmoil in the state, V Muniyappa, the Congress MLA from Sidlaghatta, was appointed as the political secretary to CM Kumaraswamy late on Monday. Further, Congress has issued a whip to all of its MLAs in Karnataka and DK Shivakumar, the man who is hailed as ‘trouble-shooter’ for the grand old party, will reach Mumbai to meet leaders who have gone “rebellious” and are believed to be camping at a hotel there.  


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