Will Siddaramaiah quit? Contenders for Karnataka CM rise as Congress-JDS govt battles worst-ever crisis

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Published: July 8, 2019 3:15:34 PM

The Congress has blamed the saffron party for the current crisis but the latter has denied any role. Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the BJP has nothing to do with the developments in Karnataka. "Our party has never indulged in horse-trading," he said.

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy talks with party MLA’s and Ministers at the HAL airport, Bengaluru. (PTI)

Karnataka crisis: The Congress-JD(S) government is on the verge of a collapse but the number of contenders for the chief ministerial post is only growing. Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy has held a series of meetings with Congress leaders since yesterday to find a way out to save the coalition government but to little avail. While Kumaraswamy is busy negotiating the terms to save his government, a demand to appoint someone else as chief minister is gaining momentum in the state. Kumaraswamy now has a double task at hand – saving the government as well as his chair.

So far, three names — Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar and Ramalinga Reddy — have emerged to replace Kumaraswamy as Karnataka Chief Minister. Siddaramaiah served as the chief minister of the state from 2013 to 2018 and has been accused of fomenting trouble in the coalition government ever since its formation. Some of the rebel legislators have said that they can withdraw their resignations if Siddaramaiah is appointed as CM.

DK Shivakumar, who is seen as the troubleshooter for the Congress, is another contender for the top post. The posters have emerged in the state demanding his appointment as next CM. While Shivakumar’s supporters argue that he was the force behind the formation of the coalition government, some in the party believe that the present crisis was orchestrated by him to get the top job. The third contender for the CM’s post is Ramalinga Reddy who has been at odds with the Congress.

Meanwhile, all 21 Congress ministers have submitted their resignations to enable a cabinet reshuffle that is likely to take place to accommodate rebel MLAs. Earlier today, an independent MLA resigned from the coalition government and offered to support the BJP if the latter stakes claim to form the government. The BJP, however, made it clear that it would make any such move only after the situation is clear. The BJP is the largest party in the state with 104 MLAs in 224-member House.

The Congress has blamed the saffron party for the current crisis but the latter has denied any role. Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the BJP has nothing to do with the developments in Karnataka. “Our party has never indulged in horse-trading,” he said.

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