The Bharatya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka is pushed into a deeper crisis as two party leaders and loyalists of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa announced their decision to resign from the Legislative assembly.
Public Works Minister C.M. Udasi and Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje quit the cabinet on Wednesday, causing a major jolt to the state government. Thirteen MLAs were also planning to submit their resignation papers on the same day but had to hold back as Speaker K.G. Bopaiah was not in office.
The ministers briefed Governor H R Bhardwaj about the speaker's absence even after informing him of their plan. They are expected to join Karnataka Janata Party, a regional party that was formed by Yeddyurappa on Dec 9 after he left the BJP.
The minister's decision to walk out from the ruling party seems to be aimed at preventing Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar from presenting the 2013-14 budget proposals on Feb 8.
So, what will happen to the present BJP government in the state if 13 legislators resign? Here are the possible outcomes:
1) Jagadish Shettar may not have the numbers to form the government: In the 225-member assembly, seven Independents and two vacancies, the strength of BJP will be reduced to 105 from 118 if the resignation letters of the 13 legislators are accepted.
Governor is expected to ask the CM to prove majority in the assembly before the budget is presented. The assembly will be dissolved if the BJP fails to prove majority.
2) The ruling party should expect something miraculous to survive the trust vote if 20 or more legislators resign. It will get numbers only if the Congress or JD(S) stage a walk out ahead of the trust vote.
3) The BJP government can survive if it gets direct support from the Congress or JD(S), which is very unlikely.
4) If the BJP losses the trust vote, the Congress with 71 MLAs can form government with the support of other Independents and the JD(S) which has 26 MLAs. But the possibility is remote as their alliance in the past failed terribly.
Considering all aspects of the present political scenario in Karnataka, it seems that the assembly dissolution is inevitable. However, the BJP would do all it could to survive the crisis and present the annual budget, which would help the party in the assembly elections due in May.