BENGALURU: In a jolt to the H D Kumaraswamy led Congress-JD-S government in Karnataka, two Independent MLAs on Tuesday withdrew support to the seven-month-old ministry amid turmoil triggered by charges of horse trading flung at each other by the ruling coalition and BJP.
In a significant turn to the political war that erupted on Monday with both sides venting their fears of poaching, H Nagesh (Independent) and R Shankar (KPJP) wrote to Governor Vajubhai Vala, conveying their decision to withdraw their support with immediate effect.
Both lawmakers, staying at a hotel in Mumbai, sent identical letters to the Governor and requested him to take “necessary action”, a move that reduced the ruling coalition’s strength to 118, but still kept it in the safe zone in the 224-member assembly.
Putting up a brave face, Congress and JD-S top leadership said the government was safe, with a seemingly unfazed Kumaraswamy, saying his ministry was stable and “I am very totally relaxed.”
The action by Nagesh and Shankar came even as the 104 BJP MLAs were hunkered down at a resort in Haryana’s Nuh district near the national capital, fearing their poaching by the ruling coalition.
Shankar was dropped from the ministry during the recent cabinet rejig, reportedly for showing reluctance to be an associate member of the Congress.
Nagesh was miffed over not being included in the ministry.
“I know my strength. My government is stable. Don’t worry,” said Kumaraswamy as he sought to portray of picture of being unperturbed by the development, insisting that the two MLAs action would have no bearing on his ministry.
With fear of ‘Operation Lotus’ taking shape, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal held a meeting with Kumaraswamy after discussions with former chief minister Siddaramaiah, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, senior minister D K Shivakumar, home minister M B Patil and other party functionaries.
Later speaking to reporters, Chief Minister said, “This ‘Operation Lotus’ is a false alarm created by media. There is no threat to the government. I enjoy the news channels running programmes like soap opera about threat to the government.”
JD-S chief and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda also said nothing would happen to the government headed by his son.
“It is not in anybody’s hands, including the media.
However much you cry hoarse, nothing will happen because it is in the hands of God. When a party (JD-S) of 38 MLAs gets the blessings of a national party (Congress), it is all the wish of God,” Gowda said.