NEW DELHI: Karnataka’s coalition government remains in full crisis mode with frantic attempts to persuade rebel lawmakers who quit on Friday to return. Congress lawmakers were invited to breakfast this morning by their party leader G Parameshwara, the Deputy Chief Minister, who made it clear that attendance was compulsory. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy cut short his US holiday and got down to meetings soon after his return last evening. His meeting with coalition partner Congress at a luxury hotel ended just before midnight. The coalition between Mr Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular and the Congress, which took power last May with a thin majority, has been jolted by the resignation of 11 lawmakers from both parties on Saturday.
Here’s your 10-point cheat sheet to this big story:
- If the resignations are accepted and not withdrawn, the Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition could lose its majority. Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who says he was not in office when the resignations were submitted, will examine the letters on Tuesday.
- The rebel lawmakers, eight from the Congress and three from the JDS, were ferried to a Mumbai hotel the same day they resigned.
- The Congress has alleged that the rebel legislators were taken to Mumbai by a chartered flight arranged by the BJP. The party also said BJP leaders visited the hotel where the lawmakers are staying.
- Both parties expect at least some of the rebels to change their mind about quitting and return today.
- The Chief Minister’s father HD Deve Gowda, a former prime minister, also held meetings with leaders of his party as well as the Congress.
- Congress leaders KC Venugopal, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and troubleshooter DK Shivakumar have been meeting Congress lawmakers.
- “There is no threat to the coalition government. It is safe,” said Siddaramaiah. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the party is in still in touch with the rebels and will get a clear picture on the July 12, when the assembly session begins.
- The Congress and the JDS together have 118 members in the 224-seat state assembly, along with one BSP and one Independent member. The defections will bring its numbers down to 105 and the majority mark in the assembly from 113 to 106. The BJP too has 105 members.
- The BJP has said it should be invited to form a new government if the ruling coalition lacks the numbers. But it has denied the coalition’s accusations of engineering the crisis.
- “Let’s wait and watch. Are we sanyasis (hermits)? After the resignation process is over and the speaker takes his decision, leaders of our party will discuss and decide,” state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said in response to a question on whether the BJP was prepping to seize the chance to form government.