In a further blow to the hopes of Karnataka Congress regaining its slim majority in the assembly and control over the government, party leader ST Somashekar today insisted that the group of rebel lawmakers whose resignations have thrown the Congress-JDS alliance into disarray would not reconsider their position.
"We are together. We won't take our resignations back at any cost. Nagaraj is also with us. K Sudhakar is in Delhi and he is also in our support, he may join us here in Mumbai anytime soon," ST Somashekar told reporters at a press conference in Mumbai.
The Karnataka coalition crisis has seen, so far, seen the resignation of 16 legislators and withdrawal of support of two independents. If these are accepted, the coalition strength drops from 118 to 100 and will bring the majority mark in the assembly from 113 to 105. The BJP has 107, with the support of the two independents, and will emerge as the majority alliance.
None of the rebel leaders' resignations have so far been accepted by Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar. The Supreme Court, approached by a group of 10 of the rebels, directed that status quo remain till it rules on constitutional matters on July 16.
Earlier today Congress strongman DK Shivakumar expressed confidence his colleagues would "come back and save the government". However, the party strongman also had a word of warning for those who continued to align themselves against the Congress
Mr Shivakumar travelled to Mumbai last week to convince a group holed up at the Renaissance Hotel in Powai to return to the fold. He was unsuccessful in that effort; he was intercepted outside the hotel gates by Mumbai Police after the rebels sent a letter saying they felt "threatened" by him, and forced to leave without meeting them.
The Congress thought it had scored a small win yesterday after Hoskote lawmaker MTB Nagaraj appeared to publicly withdraw his resignation, crediting DK Shivakumar for his decision. However, in a surprising turnaround today he was seen leaving for Mumbai with a BS Yeddyurappa aide in tow.
ST Somashekar, who said "Nagaraj is also with us", also said he was "unaware" why BJP leader R Ashok was also in Mumbai. R Ashok, the legislator from the Padmanabhanagar constituency, was seen arriving at Mumbai airport today morning with MTB Nagaraj.
The BJP, which has denied any link to the raft of resignations plaguing the Congress and the JDS, was earlier criticised by Mr Shivakumar, who said the party was "power-hungry".
Meanwhile, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa today demanded Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy "resign immediately" as he did not have a majority in the assembly.