The cracks that Karnataka’s Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition tried to paper over for the past year are widening fast and dramatically, pushing the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led government to the brink. Days after 14 legislators sent in their resignation letters, the future of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition is no clearer at the time of going to press, but a full-blown crisis is certainly at hand. Things will likely to come to a head this week—the Karnataka assembly convenes on July 12 and Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar will meet some of the legislators to decide on their resignations.
In Karnataka, there is a weary sense of deja vu—a decade ago, when state elections last threw up a hung assembly, it was a BJP government which had struggled with rebel MLAs who were shunted to resorts far away from Bangalore. It’s a repeat of those scenes now—many Congress and JD(S) MLAs are holding out from a Mumbai hotel where they have been holed up since the crisis began. There are no signs of a thaw yet.
The Congress offered to recast the cabinet to accommodate some of the rebels and asked all its ministers to step down; it threatened to invoke the anti-defection law against some MLAs; and it dispatched senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to Bangalore and Karnataka Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar to Mumbai to salvage the situation. Shivakumar, a troubleshooter for the party, couldn’t get into the hotel as the rebels not only refused to meet him but also called for police protection.
Scene Kya Hai?
- A Floor Test
Karnataka’s assembly convenes Friday. It will take up the finance bill this July session, which will practically be a floor...