The ruling BJP in Karnataka was today thrown into fresh quagmire as two Ministers resigned and 11 MLAs loyal to former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa announced their decision to quit the Assembly membership, raising questions about its government’s stability.
Jolting the six-month-old Jagadish Shettar Ministry, Public Works Minister C.M. Udasi and Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje quit, followed by high drama at Speaker K.G. Bopiah’s office where they and 11 MLAs tried to submit their resignation letters but in vain.
Bopaiah was not in office when the MLAs trooped in as he was reportedly out of town while the Assembly Legislature Secretary Omprakash was also not present, prompting an enraged Yeddyurappa to rush there, insisting that the government had been reduced to a minority.
The agitated MLAs insisted that their resignation letters be accepted by an official or an acknowledgement given that they are not empowered to receive them but Assembly Joint Secretary Jayatheertha P Galagali told them to submit resignations “when Speaker comes to office.”
Yeddyurappa said Bopaiah had been alerted yesterday about the resignation of MLAs, but he has left on a tour. “It is a shameless government. Shettar should meet the Governor and tender resignation,” he said.
Shortly thereafter, the 13 MLAs drove to Raj Bhavan and asked Governor H.R. Bhardwaj to take suitable steps for acceptance of their resignations by Bopaiah.
“The Governor assured us of suitable action as per constitutional provisions,” Udasi told reporters here, adding, the MLAs submitted copies of their resignation letters to him. Karandlaje requested the Governor to investigate the matter of a Cabinet Minister “whisking away” the Speaker to the Airport to help him fly out of the city when he was informed yesterday about the MLAs visiting his office.
Shettar, on north Karnataka tour, said he would decide on the ministers’ resignations after consulting BJP central leadership. He said the government faced “no problems” and enjoyed majority.
“We will face the session (budget session is slated to begin on February 4).”
Bhardwaj earlier said, “If there is a constitutional crisis in the State, I am ready to act.” He, however, said he would not like to disturb the Jagadish Shettar Government.