Bengaluru: In a bid to pre-empt the opposition BJP from bringing down the
JD(S)-Congress coalition, the H.D. Kumaraswamy government which levelled fresh allegations of Op. Kamala being in full flow, accusing the BJP of holding one of its
JD(S) MLAs hostage in Mumbai, considered passing the crucial Finance Bill on Tuesday itself.
Instead, with just three days left for the current Budget session of the state Legislature to end, the ruling coalition is now bracing for a showdown on Friday, February 15, when BJP insiders said that the BJP is straining every sinew to see that it manages to embarrass the coalition by comprehensively defeating the Finance Bill on the floor of the House or failing that, making sure the ruling front does not get the expected votes.
If the Budget is defeated, Chief Minister H.D Kumaraswamy would have little option but to resign and there could not be a bigger blow than this for the coalition ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, now approaching fast.
However for this to happen, at least 12 coalition MLAs would have to abstain from voting which is a remote possibility but cannot be entirely ruled out considering the lobbying by a section of Congress legislators for their leader Siddaramaiah to return as CM displacing Mr Kumaraswamy.
Not to be outdone by the Opposition, crisis managers of the JD(S) and Congress are making a determined effort not to let voting happen on the last day on Friday and instead get all bills including the Finance Bill approved before that.
In fact Congress leaders and legislators had reportedly discussed the possibility of getting the Budget approved on Tuesday hoping that the BJP would resort to a dharna on the issue of ordering a SIT probe into Audiogate and in the melee, the Budget could be passed. But that did not happen with the Opposition party giving up plans for the dharna.
Sources said Congress-JD (S) leaders are keen on getting the Finance Bill passed without the situation reaching a stage where the opposition presses for a division of votes. As of now, the coalition strength excluding the two independents who have withdrawn support, the four defiant MLAs and absconding Kampli MLA J.N. Ganesh, stands at 113 as against the BJP's 104. "Facing the prospect of disqualification, no Congress MLA may make an attempt to cross-vote at this juncture. We are safe. But we do not want to be left embarrassed if the Opposition presses for a division of votes and we end up getting more than 104 votes (the BJP strength) but less than 113 creating doubts if more of our legislators have turned against us," sources said. " The absence of MLAs which is likely to happen on the last day of the session, may give a shot in the arm to the Opposition to launch a campaign that the ruling coalition lacks unity and legislators do not obey the diktat of the leadership. To avoid such a situation, the coalition wants to hurry through the Finance and other bills," sources said.