Two Independent MLAs who had extended their support to the Congress-JDS alliance when it was formed in May last year announced to withdraw support to the coalition government Tuesday. The two Independent MLAs R Shankar from Ranebennur and H Nagesh from Mulbagal released letters addressed to the governor stating their withdrawal. The two MLAs have suggested disgruntlement with the coalition as a reason for withdrawal of support.
This, however, is not likely to affect the Congress JDS coalition since the Congress with 80 MLAs and the JDS with 37 enjoy a clear majority in the 224 member Karnataka legislature where is halfway mark is 113. “We have heard that the two Independent MLAs want to withdraw support to the government. As Independents, they are free to take any decision they want. They had extended support when the government was formed and one of them was made a minister for a while,” Karnataka deputy CM G Parameshwara said.
The two MLAs are yet to however meet the Governor and convey their withdrawal of support.
Responding to the announcement, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he is totally relaxed and is sure about his strength. ” If 2 MLAs withdraw their support, what will be the numbers? I’m totally relaxed. I know my strength. Whatever is going on in media in the past week, I am enjoying,” he said.
The withdrawal of support of the two Independent MLAs comes at a time when there is speculation of the BJP attempting to get Congress MLAs to resign in an effort to reduce coalition numbers in a bid for power. The Independent MLAs were reported to be with around five Congress MLAs reported having gone missing on Monday.
One of the missing MLAs Anand Singh, however, met Congress leaders on Tuesday morning in Bengaluru and said that he was not in touch with the BJP leadership.
At least 11 Congress MLAs would have to quit their assembly seats for the BJP which has 104 MLAs to muster the numbers to overthrow the coalition and come to power. None of the MLAs, including Independents, have quit so far.