The Congress, which governs Karnataka in alliance with the Janata Dal Secular, has reacted to the resignation of N Mahesh as minister of primary and secondary education. Mr Mahesh, the only minister from Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party which is also part of the coalition, resigned on Thursday, just days after his party chief furiously accused the Congress of sabotaging other opposition parties.
Congress minister DK Shivakumar told NDTV, "This is very unfortunate. The alliance (between JDS and BSP) was done before the election. But they wanted to do the party work. I am sure still they will reconsider the decision. Mahesh is a very good worker and a very good leader. He is an asset for the state. We want him to be in the ministry again. "
Denying that Mayawati's outburst has cast doubts over a potent anti-BJP coalition ahead of 2019 national elections, the Congress has said their partnership - at least in the state - is strong.
"We are positive. Kumari Mayawati was here during the oath taking ceremony of Kumaraswamy. I am sure she will not go back. The grand alliance will move forward," Mr Shivakumar said.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy also said it was not about the alliance. "That is not the issue. Issue is different," the JDS leader said.
Quitting the Karnataka government on Thursday, Mr Mahesh said he would concentrate on the work in his constituency.
Though he said that he had not consulted Mayawati before taking the step, Mr Mahesh's move came days after his party chief who has a big support base among the Scheduled Caste community in the north -- announced that she would not ally with the Congress for the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
However, Mr Mahesh assured reporters that his party will remain in the alliance and that he would continue to campaign in favour of the JDS in the coming by-elections in Mandya and Ramnagar.
Ms Mayawati had formed the alliance with Mr Kumaraswamy before the assembly elections held in May. The Congress walked in much later, on the day of the counting, when it became obvious that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party but fall short of majority.
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