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Karnataka crisis: Efforts on to pacify rebel MLAs; BJP wants trust vote on Monday


Bengaluru, July 13: With the Karnataka political crisis continuing, coalition leaders were locked in hectic parleys to pacify rebel MLAs, as the BJP upped the ante and said it would press Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to seek the trust vote on Monday.

A day after Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy made a surprise announcement in the Assembly that he would seek a trust vote, efforts were intensified to reach out to the dissident legislators.

HD Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaih and BD Yeddyurappa

After almost day-long negotiations, it appeared that Congress had made some headway in pacifying one of its MLAs, M T B Nagaraj, who hinted that he might consider withdrawing his resignation, but fell short of making any final announcement till the evening.

The BJP, however, made it clear that it will press Kumaraswamy to seek the trust vote in the Assembly on Monday, a day prior to the Supreme Court hearing the petition of rebel MLAs, who have resigned.

Karnataka: 5 more rebel Congress MLAs move SC as Speaker holds on resignation

Meanwhile, five more rebel Congress MLAs moved the Supreme Court Saturday against the Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar not accepting their resignation. MLAs Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, N Nagaraj (MTB), Munirathna and Roshan Baig have sought impleadment in the already pending application filed by the 10 other rebels MLAs on which the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

The coalition government is on a shaky wicket with 16 MLAs -- 13 of the Congress and three of the JD(S) -- resigning their assembly membership. Besides, two independent legislators, who were made ministers recently to provide stability, have quit the ministry and withdrawn support.

The independents H Nagesh and R Shankar, who are now supporting the BJP, have written to the speaker requesting him to allot them seats on the opposition side in the House.

As part of efforts to reach out to dissident MLAs, Congress' "troubleshooter" and minister D K Shivakumar reached Nagaraj's residence early Saturday morning and camped there for almost half-a-day, trying to pacify the Hoskote MLA.

Subsequently, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara among other leaders too reached Nagaraj's house to persuade him to withdraw his resignation.

Nagaraj, who tendered his resignation on July 10, however, kept the Congress leaders on tenterhooks even after day long deliberations with him to rethink his decision.

After day-long discussions with senior leaders of the Congress and chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, rebel Congress MLA MTB Nagaraj announced late on Saturday that he would take back his resignation, giving the tottering Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government a shot in the arm.

Speculation is rife that Chikkaballapura MLA Sudhakar, who too has resigned from the assembly, would join the other rebels staying in a Mumbai hotel. Congress leadership has also made attempts to persuade other MLAs, sources said, adding Kumaraswamy himself was trying to persuade at least four rebel Congress MLAs to withdraw their resignations.

Trying to throw a spanner in their efforts, a group of BJP leaders,led by MLA S R Vishwanath and Bengaluru corporator Padmanabha Reddy, met seven time Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy, who has resigned as legislator, at his residence. Reddy refused to comment on the development, saying he would not speak on politics till July 15 as he had to appear before the Assembly speaker, regarding resignation., However he said he would attend the assembly on Monday.

Meanwhile, his daughter and Congress MLA Sowmya Reddy said she had no information about the meeting. State BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa made it clear that his party will press Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to seek trust vote in the Assembly on Monday.

The former chief minister asserted that the Congress-JD(S) coalition government has lost majority and its collapse was imminent. In a surprise move, Kumaraswamy had on Friday announced in the state Assembly that he had voluntarily decided to seek a trust vote to end the "confusion" caused by resignations of rebel MLAs and requested the Speaker to fix time for the same.

According to sources, at the Business Advisory Committee meeting on Friday Kumaraswamy had proposed that the trust vote be held on Wednesday. However, no decision was taken as the principal opposition BJP did not attend the meeting.

Expressing confidence on winning the trust vote, state Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao claimed that BJP did not move the no confidence motion as the party was not confident about the numbers. "The government will survive and will continue under the leadership of Kumaraswamy. We will pass the trust vote, you can wait and see," he added.

In a bid to keep their flock together, both Congress and BJP have shifted their MLAs to hotels and resorts. JD(S) MLAs have been camping at a resort for the last couple of days. The ruling coalition's strength in the House is 116 (Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and BSP one), besides the speaker.

With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House. If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will be reduced to 100.

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