BENGALURU: Dealing a blow to the ruling coalition in Karnataka, rebel Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav Monday submitted his resignation from the state Assembly to Speaker Ramesh Kumar, amid reports that he might join the BJP.
Jadhav, who sided with the rebel faction led by Ramesh Jarkiholi, which threatened to topple the JD(S)-Congress coalition government recently, is a two-time MLA from Chincholi in Kalburagi district, a bastion of senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
The MLA met the Speaker and submitted his resignation, secretariat sources said. Sources close to Jadhav said he intends to join the BJP on Wednesday.
Jadhav is reportedly being considered by the BJP to be fielded against Congress veteran Kharge from Kalaburgi constituency in the Lok Sabha polls.
The MLA was reportedly unhappy with the “autocratic” style of Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge, son of Mallikarjun Kharge.
Jadhav was among the four MLAs – Ramesh Jarkiholi, B Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathali – who were reported to be in touch with the BJP, which was accused of trying to poach the MLAs to bring down the JDS-Congress government recently.
The four lawmakers, who had gone missing for several weeks amid political turmoil, had surfaced here on February 13, two days after the party recommended their disqualification to the Assembly Speaker.
The four MLAs had kept the party on tenterhooks for several weeks, defying its whip twice to attend the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meetings on January 18 and February 8 and had been skipping the Assembly budget session.
After the MLAs refused to fall in line, the Congress had petitioned Speaker to disqualify them under the Anti-Defection Law.
Commenting on Jadhav’s resignation, Dinesh Gundu Rao said he was enacting a “drama” by promising to remain loyal to the party. “He shouldn’t forget that whatever he’s today is because of Congress. Anyone can come and go but the party will remain forever,” Rao told reporters. He asserted that the other Congress MLAs will remain with the party.
KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre said Jadhav had “ruined his career” by quitting the party, as the Speaker is yet to take a decision on his disqualification. “Once disqualified, he cannot contest elections,” Khandre said.