In a big setback to HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in Karnataka, disgruntled Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav on Monday resigned from the party. According to reports, he submitted his resignation to Karnataka Assembly speaker Ramesh Kumar at his residence. Jadhav, a two-time MLA from the Chincholi assembly constituency, is reportedly planning to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He didn’t attend the last Assembly session and some reports suggest that he was BJP leaders in Mumbai during that time.
Earlier in January, two MLAs had withdrawn their support to the state government. The lawmakers who withdrew their support were H Nagesh (Independent) and R Shankar (Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha).
The development comes amid allegations that the BJP is trying to lure Congress and JD(S) MLAs. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy himself claimed that the BJP is attempting to lure his party lawmakers as part of what is being called "Operation Lotus". The chief minister had released audio clips of the alleged conversation of Yeddyurappa luring Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs.
However, Yeddyurappa has dismissed the audio clips as ‘fake’ and ‘a concocted story’ and said he had not met anyone to woo Nagana Gouda as alleged.
"It is a fake audio. I have not met anyone. Kumaraswamy is trying to hide his failures. This is a drama," Yeddyurappa said. He said the Kumaraswamy government had lost the trust of the people and had "no moral right" to continue in office.
In the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, the BJP has 104 members, Congress 80 (including Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and before resignation of Jadhav), Kumaraswamy’s JD (S) has 37, BSP, KPJP and Independent one each. BSP is supporting the coalition government.