Congress, JDS leaders sound optimistic of resolving crisis

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BENGALURU: On the back-foot following resignation of two Congress MLAs, the ruling coalition leaders in Karnataka on Wednesday continued efforts to placate them and sounded cautiously optimistic about resolving the crisis.

Amid fears that more disgruntled legislators might quit and join hands with BJP, the leaders, including JDS-Congress coalition coordination committee chief Siddaramaiah and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who is in the US, reached out to them to diffuse the situation, sources in the parties said.

The two leaders contacted disgruntled legislators personally and have made efforts to pacify them, the sources said, adding attempts were also being made to convince the two legislators to withdraw their resignations, which are yet to be accepted by the assembly Speaker.

The two MLAs — Anand Singh (Vijayanagara constituency) and Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak) — tendered their resignations Monday, triggering a fresh crisis for the 13-month old Congress-JD(S) government that has been grappling with dissidence and differences within.

Siddaramaiah, who is also the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, however, maintained only Singh has resigned and Jarkiholi’s resignation had not reached the Assembly Speaker.

Jarkiholi, who has been cut up with the Congress since he was dropped from the ministry last year, had said he sent his resignation through fax and would meet the Speaker soon, but till Wednesday he had not turned up.

Siddaramaiah exuded confidence Singh may withdraw his resignation

“Only Anand Singh has given (resignation), we are talking to him. He may withdraw,” Siddaramaaih told reporters in Myusuru Wednesday.

Noting that Singh had cited JSW Steel land issue among others for his decision, the former chief minister said all these cannot be the reasons.

“Lets talk is what I have communicated to him… we will convince him,” he said, adding disgruntlement among MLAs may be due to various reasons, but Singh did not resign because he was not made a minister.

Singh, who sent in his resignation to the Speaker on Monday, had said he decided to resign over various demands, including creation of a separate Vijayangara district and cancellation of the nod for sale of 3,667 acres of land to JSW Steel in mine-rich Ballari district.

However, he had kept the doors open for a rethink, saying he would “wait for answers” (from the government to his demands) when asked if he would withdraw the resignation.

Speaker Ramesh Kumar too said only one MLA (Singh) has sent in his resignation to him and he would act on it in accordance with rules.

He also indicated his displeasure at Singh handing over a copy of his resignation to Governor Vajubhai R Vala. An MLA should know the proper procedure for submitting resignation, he told reporters here.

Meanwhile, Congress trouble shooter and Minister D K Shivakumar asserted the government was ‘safe’ and said the Chief Minister would hold meetings with MLAs district wise on July 9 and 10 to hear their issues.

Deputy Chief Minister and a few ministers will also attend the meetings, where all their issues and problems will be discussed. We have fixed a time bound programmewe will sort it out,” he told mediapersons separately.

Several disgruntled legislators, especially those of Congress, are miffed about issues related to their constituency and posting of officials among others, sources said addig the proposed meeting was aimed at addressing these concerns and pacify them.

Ministerial aspirants would be asked to wait for cabinet reshuffle, later this year, they said.

Breaking his silence on the MLAs’ resignation, JD(S) patriarch and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda said there were capable leaders within the Congress to resolve the situation and there was nothing to worry.

“They have the strength to rectify things. I have no worry about it, he told reporters, referring to Siddaramaiah and others.

Congress is keen to diffuse the situation quickly as any more resignations by disgruntled MLAs could trigger a number game in the assembly.

The coalition’s strength in the 224-member assembly stands at 118 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and Independents-2), besides the Speaker.The BJP has 105 MLAs.

If the resignation of two MLAs is accepted, the combine’s strength will come down to 116 against half-way mark of 113.

Siddaramaiah Wednesday reiterated his charge that the BJP was conspiring to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were also involved in it.

He also ruled out any ‘reverse operation’ from Congress to try and poach BJP MLAs, saying no one should take such measures in a democracy.

On the other hand, JD(S) Minister G T Devegowda, who had raised eyebrows with his statement absolving BJP leaders, including Modi and Shah, of alleged involvement in efforts for toppling the government, Wednesday said he stood by his statement.

In his reaction to the resignation saga, Kumaraswamy had Monday accused the BJP of trying to destabilise his government.

Source: Press Trust of India