Bengaluru: Karnataka Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday accused the BJP of trying to topple the ruling HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in the state by blackmailing, threatening and offering money to the Congress MLAs.
"Couple of MLAs will go but it doesn't mean the government will fall, they are going because they threatened them, blackmailed them and offered money. Why is BJP doing this?" Rao said when asked to respond on two Congress MLAs, Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi, resigning.
In a setback to the JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka, the two Congress MLAs earlier in the day quit the Assembly further bringing down the coalition numbers in the House.
Vijayanagar MLA, Anand Singh, met Governor Vajubai Vala and submitted his resignation. Copy of it was sent to Speaker Ramesh Kumar. Hours later, Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, who has been sulking for the last few months over not being made a minister, also resigned from the Assembly.
Jarkiholi reportedly submitted his resignation to Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar.
"I met the Governor and tendered my resignation, I gave a copy to him. I will give a copy to the Legislative Assembly speaker as well. I am not hungry for power," Singh told reporters here after meeting the Governor.
Singh said he resigned because Chief Minister Kumaraswamy had signed a deal with the Jindal South West Holding Ltd (JSW Steel), the Mumbai-headquartered company, despite his and other leaders' repeated protests.
"I had earlier said that if JSW steel had got a lease-cum-steel deal then I would resign. This is against the interests of the state. I had requested the government not to go ahead with it. The government's responsibility was to ensure and uphold the interests of the people," he said.
"Anil Lad is also with me. He is also supporting me," he added about the Bellary MLA from Congress.
With the Speaker claiming he has not got any resignation, Singh clarified that he had indeed sent a copy of his resignation. "I will tender my resignation again to the Speaker if he has not got it yet."
With the resignation of Singh and Jarkiholi, the strength of Congress has come down to 76 in the state Assembly.
JDS has 37 legislators, while two Independent MLAs are also in support of the Kumaraswamy-led government in the state. BJP has 105 seats in the Assembly.
Today's developments triggered speculation that as many as four more Congress MLAs may resign in the coming days. The names being mentioned are including Congress' Mahesh Kumathalli, Pratap Gowda Patil and BC Patil.
Meanwhile, Singh said he had urged leaders across parties to come out in protest of the decision taken by Kumaraswamy.
"I've given a call to all the representatives from Ballari cutting across party lines to fight against JSW Steel deal," Singh said....