Jolt to Cong-JDS govt as minister rejoins rebel camp

The ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition’s attempts to make some of the rebel MLAs withdraw their resignations and save the H.D. Kumaraswamy government when the chief minister seeks a trust vote in the state Assembly suffered a big blow on Sunday with housing minister M.T.B. Nagaraj, who had given hints on Saturday that he would withdraw his resignation, flying off to Mumbai to join the other rebels.

Nagaraj was seen off at HAL airport by senior BJP leader R. Ashok, exposing a BJP hand in the ongoing resignation episode. He later announced at a joint press conference addressed by the rebel MLAs camping in Mumbai that there was no question of withdrawing his resignation and that he was “firm” in his decision to quit the Assembly.

With the other rebel MLAs too categorically stating at the press conference that they will not withdraw their resignations and nor will they participate in the ongoing monsoon session of the Karnataka Legislature, Congress and JD(S) leaders are fast losing hope of saving the government.

Addressing the joint press conference, rebels S.T. Somashekar and  Nagaraj said all 13 Congress and three Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs are united and will not return to Bengaluru at this juncture nor should any leader come to Mumbai as they did not want to talk with anyone.  Chikballapur Congress MLA Dr K. Sudhakar, who is in Delhi, would be joining them Sunday night, they said.

The MLAs claimed they were treated like trash after the coalition government came to power and none of their projects were cleared by the CM. Their letters seeking funds to take up development works in their constituencies were not considered.

All eyes are now on Speaker K. Ramesh Kumar who is likely to fix a date today for the trust vote. Sources said Kumaraswmay may prefer to move the confidence motion on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court hearing on the resignations of the MLAs and the disqualification petition against them.

Meanwhile, state BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa has demanded that Kumaraswamy must resign immediately, failing which a no-confidence motion will be moved against the coalition government today.

Kumaraswamy, instead of seeking a trust vote, must put in papers and step down, he said, adding, “I will participate in the Business Advisory Committee meeting on Monday and request the Speaker, Mr K. Ramesh Kumar, to allow the Opposition party to move a no-confidence motion in case the CM fails to seek a trust vote on Monday”.

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