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As Karnataka crisis deepens, will Roshan Baig, Rahim Khan join the rebels

By Anuj Cariappa
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Bengaluru, July 09: The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka, which is on the brink due to a flurry of resignations, is likely to suffer another jolt with another Congress MLA on Monday threatening to resign.

Karnataka Minister and Bidar North MLA Rahim Mahmood Khan said he has informed senior Congress functionaries about his grievances and will take a decision after meeting them at Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara's residence.

File photo of Roshan Baig

The resignation of 13 MLAs has plunged the government into a crisis. Twelve legislators --nine from the Congress and three from the JD(S) -- resigned on Saturday.

Congress MLA Anand Singh had resigned on July 1.

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"My department got only Rs 15 crore budget this year and it has just now been released. Of this amount, Rs 13 crore will be paid to clear old bills.How can I carry out various projects across Karnataka with the remaining Rs two crore?" the sports and youth empowerment minister told PTI.

Khan said he did not wish to align with the rebel group but the situation has forced him to take a decision.

"I'll attend the meeting (at Parameshwara's residence ) today. If my problems aren't addressed, I will be forced to take a decision," the minister said.

The JD(S)-Congress coalition's total strength in the state assembly, including those who have put in their papers, is 118 --Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP one and two Independents, besides the speaker.

The BJP has 105 MLAs in the House, where the half-way mark is 113.

If the resignations are accepted, the coalition's tally will come down to 105. The speaker also has a vote.

Another Congress MLA R Roshan Baig from Shivajinagar constituency, who has been up in arms against senior party leaders and was suspended for anti-party activities, told PTI that he has not yet decided on resignation.

"I'm busy with Hajj related preparations and have no plans as of now to leave the party," Baig said.

Karnataka crisis: All eyes on Speaker

Speculation was rife that he would also join the rebel camp.

The MLA landed in trouble when a ponzi scheme operative Mohammad Mansoor Khan, who allegedly duped thousands of people, mostly Muslims, accused him of taking Rs 400 crore from him and not returning it.

Baig rubbished Mansoor Khan's charge and called it a conspiracy against him by his adversaries.

The government went into a huddle following the resignation of 13 MLAs comprising 10 Congress and three JD(S) MLAs.

Ten of the rebel MLAs have camped in a Mumbai hotel and have made it clear that they will not attend the Congress Legislative Party meeting on Tuesday since they have tendered their resignation at Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar's office.

The speaker would take a call on Tuesday.

Hectic parleys were held in the Congress and the JD(S) camps to bail out the 13-month old government, which is facing a crisis.

Chief minister H D Kumaraswamy who returned from the USA Sunday evening straightaway held a series of meetings with leaders of the JD(S) and Congress, including the Congress legislative party leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah without a break till late Sunday night.

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