Congress supporters came to blows with BJP workers while trying to take away two independent legislators to the state assembly ahead of the trust vote on Tuesday evening, which the HD Kumaraswamy government eventually lost.
The two independents had switched sides from the ruling coalition to the BJP earlier this month, reducing it to a minority in the state assembly and shifting the scales of power in the southern state yet again. The Congress-Janata Dal Secular combine managed to get just 99 votes to the BJP's 105 in the trust vote.
The two independents were kept in a house, said to belong to senior BJP leader R Ashok, near the Vidhan Soudha in north Bengaluru's Race Course Road. Around 4.30 pm, Congress workers reached the spot to take them away and force them to vote for the coalition.
However, the BJP workers stationed there intervened and the two groups came to blows. Eventually, the police stepped in to put an end to the scuffle. About 100 supporters from both sides were arrested, and police have imposed prohibitory orders banning large gatherings in Bengaluru for the next 48 hours.
The Congress has accused the BJP of bribing or coercing its lawmakers to bring down the government.
The trust vote was taken up over a fortnight after 13 lawmakers from the Congress and three from the Janata Dal Secular walked out of their respective parties. Given the delay, the two legislators appealed to the Supreme Court to order a floor test. The court agreed to hear their plea if the floor test was not held today.