Karnataka crisis: Things could change dramatically if Congress manages to bring the four rebel MLAs back into its fold. This, coupled with Kumaraswamy's sacrifice of the CM's chair, could turn the trust vote into a cliffhanger.
Karnataka crisis, Karnataka Assembly trust vote: In a few hours from now, the fate of the fragile Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka will be decided on the floor of the Assembly even as the ruling coalition makes last-minute efforts to win back unrelenting rebel lawmakers. It is important for Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to prove the majority in the assembly to save his government from a collapse. The JDS leader has been tip-toeing his moves to bring the rebel lawmakers to the fold even as the dissenting MLAs remain unmoved so far.
Karnataka minister and Congress leader DK Shivakumar has indicated that CM Kumaraswamy may be replaced with another leader. Shivakumar has said that the JDS is also willing to sacrifice the CM’s post to save the government in the state, paving way for replacement of CM Kumaraswamy with a candidate who is acceptable to rebel lawmakers. The JDS is also learnt to have informed the Congress high-command about their decision.
Now, four of the rebel MLAs considered close to Siddaramaiah may turn the tide in favour of the government if things go their way. According to reports, a section of the supporters of former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has been active in the state after dismal performance by the Congress party in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. It is believed that some MLAs out of the 13 Congress MLAs, who have resigned, belong to the Siddaramaiah camp and may withdraw their resignations if Siddaramaiah is appointed as the CM post. Notably, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda had publicly accused Siddaramaiah of orchestrating the crisis in Karnataka after 13 MLAs resigned.
Of the dissenting MLAs, S T Somashekhar, B Basavaraju, N Munirathna and Ramalinga Reddy are said to supporters of Siddaramaiah. Reddy was the home minister in Siddaramaiah-led Congress government and is believed to bring back at least three other rebel MLAs back to the government. Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has been considered as Siddaramaiah’s close aide, has been upset following his removal from the state cabinet.
How Karnataka plunged into political crisis
The Congress-JDS coalition government, with 79 and 37 MLAs respectively, plunged into crisis after as many as 13 Congress MLAs resigned and one was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. Two independent MLAs also withdrew support from the government, bringing the effective strength of the government to 100, if one includes the lone BSP MLA. The BJP, on the other hand, is the single largest party in the state with 105 MLAs. Things could change dramatically if the Congress manages to bring the four rebel MLAs back into its fold. This coupled with Kumaraswamy’s sacrifice of the CM’s chair could turn the trust vote into a cliffhanger.