K’taka: Independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar Withdraw Support
JD(S) leaders HD Kumaraswamy and HD Devegowda. 
JD(S) leaders HD Kumaraswamy and HD Devegowda. (Photo: File/Altered by Harsh Sahani/The Quint)

K’taka: Independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar Withdraw Support

Two independent MLAs, H Nagesh from Mulbagal and R Shankar from Ranebennur, have withdrawn their support from the Karnataka government on Tuesday, January 15.

In a statement to ANI, H Nagesh said: “My support to coalition government was to provide good & stable government which utterly failed. There's is no understanding among coalition partners. So, I decided to go with BJP to install stable government & see that government performs better than the coalition.”

R Shankar said, “Today is Makar Sankranti, on this day we want a change in the government. The government should be efficient, so I am withdrawing my support (to the Karnataka government) today.”

New Power Equations in Karnataka

  • Congress + JD(S) + BSP  = 117 (Excluding speaker)
  • BJP + Independents   = 106
  • Halfway mark for forming government = 113
“If 2 MLAs withdraw their support, what will be the numbers? I’m totally relaxed. I know my strength. Whatever is going on in media in the past week, I am enjoying.”
CM HD Kumaraswamy to ANI

Commenting on the withdrawal of support by the Independents, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said that the government was stable.

“We have been saying that BJP is luring our MLAs through money and power but their attempts to destabilise the government will fail. Our government is stable,” reported ANI.

Soon after the news of Independents withdrawing support broke, Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that BJP’s ploy of ‘Operation Kamala’ was nothing new.

JD(S) Supremo Tweets Sankranthi Message

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.

While wishing the people of the state a happy Sankranthi, Devegowda also said that ‘evil forces’ were no match for the pro-farmer government.

“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.”

In a series of tweets on Tuesday morning, Devegowda also called out BJP lawmakers for abandoning the drought-ridden state to holiday in north India. He called out the BJP for attempting to topple the government and doing injustice to citizens in the 156 drought-hit taluks. He also said people of the state would give a fitting reply to such leaders. 

Former CM and Congress leader Siddaramaiah also took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to call out ‘Mr Saaf Niyat’ PM Narendra Modi, for allowing his lawmakers to blatantly indulge in horse-trading.

Seeming to quell all rumours of trouble brewing within the Congress, ANI quoted Congress leader DK Shivakumar accusing the BJP of trying to create ‘hype’ in the country because of the Mahagathbandhan.

“Our MLAs are with us, we are answerable to the people of the constituency, they are not doing any dirty politics. BJP is trying to create a hype in the country on Mahagathbandhan. Let them be honest with their hearts first,” ANI reported.

Of ‘Missing’ Lawmakers & Strategy Meetings

Karnataka's ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and Opposition BJP on Monday, 14 January, had traded allegations of making attempts to poach their respective MLAs in a fresh political war just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

While the Congress pointed out that five of its lawmakers were “missing”, the BJP flew its 104 MLAs to a resort in Gurugram.

Alleging that the “JD(S) wants to break BJP lawmakers”, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa asserted that they are united and “will stay in Delhi for one or two days”.

BJP leader Nippani Shashikala Jolle, one of the 104 MLAs shifted to ITC Grand Bharat in Gurugram on Monday, 14 January, said they were called to “strategise for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.”

“There’s no talks of forming the government, if there is anything, our leaders will tell you,” she said.

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    BJP lawmakers at Gurugram resort
    BJP lawmakers at Gurugram resortThe Quint
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    BJP lawmakers at Gurugram resort
    BJP lawmakers at Gurugram resortThe Quint
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    BJP lawmakers at Gurugram resort
    BJP lawmakers at Gurugram resortThe Quint

Also Read : Karnataka: BJP’s Game Plan to Topple Govt or Force Election

‘JD(S)-Congress Have Started Horse-Trading’: Yeddyurappa

Karnataka BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa rubbished reports that his party was attempting 'Operation Lotus' to topple the state government.

'Operation Lotus' is a reference to BJP's alleged bid to lure several Opposition MLAs to defect to ensure stability of its then government headed by Yeddyurappa in 2008.

“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.”
BS Yeddyurappa

The BJP is "alert and careful" as the chief minister is trying to lure our MLAs using "power and money", he said.

"Kumaraswamy is trying to contact BJP MLAs and has offered a ministerial post to a Kalburgi MLA," Yeddyurappa alleged.

Govt Not Under Threat: Kumaraswamy

Meanwhile, 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.

Also Read : Coalition Govt Stable, Cong-JDS to Fight LS Polls Together: Siddaramaiah

Asked about Water Resource Minister DK Shivakumar's claim that some Congress MLAs were camping at a hotel in Mumbai in the "company of some BJP leaders", Kumaraswamy said they were in constant touch with him.

“(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?”
HD Kumaraswamy

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

In the midst of all the drama, V Muniyappa, the Congress MLA from Sidlaghatta, was appointed as the political secretary to CM Kumaraswamy late on Monday.

MLAs Might Have Gone on Holiday Or to Visit Temple: G Parameshwara

Deputy chief minister and senior Congress leader G Parameshwara also asserted on Monday that the government in Karnataka was stable.

Asked about the Congress MLAs camping in a Mumbai hotel, he said:

“Let them be... why they have gone, nobody knows. They might have gone on holiday or to visit temples or meet leaders.”

Shivakumar Accuses Kumaraswamy of Being ‘Lenient’

The drama started on Sunday when Karnataka Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar had said that the BJP's 'Operation Lotus' to topple the state's coalition government was for real and that three Congress MLAs were camping in a Mumbai hotel in the "company of some BJP leaders.”

“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,” he had said.

Shivakumar had also accused CM 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 ongoing conspiracies. They have also told Siddaramaiah about it.”

“The chief minister is adopting a policy of wait and watch. If I was in his place, I would have exposed it within 24 hours.” 
DK Shivakumar

Also Read : DK Shivakumar: The Man Who Checkmated Amit Shah in Karnataka  

(With inputs from PTI.)

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