The day after the resignation of two Karnataka Congress legislators, the state unit of the party is watching to see if any others plan to move out. Two legislators moved out on Monday and there is word that one of them is in touch with other disgruntled members.
On Monday, the resignation of Anand Singh, a legislator who had been allegedly attacked by another Congress MLA some months ago, was followed by long term dissident and former minister, Ramesh Jarkiholi, walking out.
Anand Singh said he was resigning as he was unhappy with a land deal between the state government and JSW Steel in his home district of Ballari. Mr Jarkiholi gave no reason in his resignation letter. But he had distanced himself from the party ever since he was dropped from the cabinet -- skipping party meets and holding meetings with other MLAs believed to be unhappy with the Congress.
On Tuesday, party trouble shooter DK Shivakumar said all MLAs feel they should stay with the party and keep the coalition government safe.
"We know everything that is going on. Who is moving what chess pieces. What the BJP is doing. (KC) Venugopal knows what needs to be done. He is doing his duty," he said.
State Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao is travelling and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also happens to be on a private visit to the US.
"Kumaraswamy is in regular touch. We have spoken four or five times. He is in touch with all the MLAs. This government will be here for the full term," Mr Shivakumar said.
Asked about Nagendra and Mahesh Kumathahalli -- other MLAs believed to be considering quitting the party -- he said, "Nagendra is a wise man. Mahesh Kumathahalli is a Congressman. Anand Singh is still a friend. I still have faith that he will withdraw his resignation and stay with the party."
KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao also insisted that the government was safe.
After a meeting of state Congress leaders as the house of CLP chief and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, he told NDTV: "The BJP central leadership is behind this. But they need 15 or 16 lawmakers to quit to be able to form the government. And that won't happen. The coalition is safe. Also, the resignation of the two MLAs has not been accepted yet."
In the 224 member Karnataka Assembly, the majority mark is 113. The Congress has 79 legislators including Singh and Jarkiholi.
Coalition partner JDS has 37 legislators. It also has the support of a BSP legislator and an Independent. Even without two lawmakers who quit, the coalition still has a majority with 116 legislators.
The BJP has 105 MLAs. State party chief B S Yeddyurappa insists the party has nothing to do with the walkout by the Congress legislators -- and says if the government falls, the BJP should be invited to form government.
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