Standing on the edge
Karnataka Assembly is on the brink of collapse following the resignation of 12 MLAs with speculations ripe regarding more resignations. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's return from personal visit has not been the most warming one since now he has a mammoth task of reshuffling his Cabinet to accommodate the rebel MLAs who have temporarily taken refuge at Sofitel hotel in Mumbai under the watch of state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. The likely outcome will be drawn by Kumaraswamy himself in consideration with senior Congress leaders viz. Kharge, KC Venugopal and Siddaramaiah as well as JD(S) leaders. The need of the hour is to craft a resurgent plan so that the coalition government does not collapse much to the desire of opposition who has been on its toes to stake claim should the Kumaraswamy government fall. While Karnataka BJP president and former CM BS Yeddyurappa had formerly stated that they had no role in the ongoing conundrum, he came forward to assert how Kumaraswamy must resign with a senior BJP leader claiming that "six to eight more MLAs are ready to tender their resignations". Despite the constant denial, 'Operation Lotus' seems to be in effect with speculations suggesting resignation of senior leaders and ministers. Today, the Speaker, KR Ramesh will return to the office where the resignation letters of 15 MLAs (besides more which have been submitted) await him. Kumaraswamy's meeting with senior leaders suggested that the state dispensation shall most-likely plan a reshuffle where existing ministers will vacate their portfolios and make way for the rebellious MLAs in order to stitch back the government and diminish BJP's chances of staking a claim. In line with that decision, Kumaraswamy announced that all ministers in the Janta Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition have resigned to allow for a comprehensive reshuffle of the Cabinet. With no hope of retracting their resignations, MLAs have forced Kumaraswamy's hand in reshuffling. With the monsoon session of the legislature due from July 12, it seems the Cabinet will have to send a resolution to the Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking a postponement. The chaos inflicted upon the Karnataka government has not only postponed a pre-scheduled legislature's session besides shaking the dispensation itself but also disrupted government functioning which is most likely to affect the state in all its affairs regarding governance. The state assembly has been shaky since its inception and to think it would have come down to the resignation of all ministers is not surprising. BJP has been on the lookout with former CM Yeddyurappa preparing his troops to push for a no-confidence motion should the speaker deny accepting resignations. However, with the way things are proceeding, Kumaraswamy's intent to reshuffle the Cabinet will yield stability unless the rebel MLAs deny accepting portfolios that Kumaraswamy is willing to offer them. It is quite possible that the MLAs under the influence of opposition refuse to be a party to Kumaraswamy's reshuffling. This would then send the ball in BJP's court and staging a no-confidence motion will surely be disastrous for the precariously held coalition government. Meanwhile, Congress-JD(S) workers staged protests in Bengaluru alleging horse-trading by BJP in Karnataka and that has been the case for a long time now.
Karnataka coalition government's current picture does not augur well and certainly demotivates the political spectrum for forging any such coalition government in future where party personnel showcase a high tendency of defecting or resigning. Such a government is indeed futile since it is only grabbing headlines for political instability, not governance; the latter is what the people expect more. From the state's point of view, even an exercise of reshuffling the dispensation is cumbersome and not in the interest of people. Already, postponing the monsoon session of the Assembly will lead to loss of time and money. Given the fact that proceeding for a no-confidence motion will require a 12-day notice, Kumaraswamy's chances for reviving the coalition government become likely, however, given the mood of rebels, it can go either way. Speaker's take today on resignations along with Kumaraswamy's swift handling of rebels in collaboration with Congress will build the future picture of the Karnataka Assembly which currently hangs in a stalemate. From the way things look, BJP will be quick to move for a no-confidence motion in order to push Kumaraswamy and his shaky government to the edge. The current week will unveil what is in store for the coalition government but from Monday's perspective, it does not augur well at all.