Jarkiholi’s resignation may seem as if he is working in tandem with Singh.
Karnataka’s cup of woes overflows. In a state that has seen little or no governance over the last year that the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) has been in power, and which faced the ignominy of being wiped out by the more entrenched BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, the Monday night resignation of Vijayanagar MLA Anand Singh and Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi smacks of the opportunist politics that has marked the state in recent times.
It not only plunges the 13-month-old government into yet another crisis, it raises the question on whether the unnatural life of this unequal “gathbandhan” has run its course, just as the SP-BSP has in Uttar Pradesh.
The astute Mr Singh, part of the old Ballari clique led by mine baron Janardhan Reddy, whom the BJP once celebrated and now shuns, handed over his resignation to the governor, not the Speaker, leaving the door open for Congress bigwigs to woo him back. His apparent grouse — the 3,000-odd acres of land, set to be sold to JSW Steel, will deprive the people of his constituency of their livelihood, skating over the fact that giving it on a lease gives the legislator the right to mine the ore. Whether stopping the sale of land to JSW, that has gone to court on Tuesday, will bring Mr Singh back to the fold is of course moot. Few have forgotten the fracas when he and fellow legislators J.N. Ganesh and Bhima Nayak came to blows a few months ago in a falling-out on rejoining the BJP.
Mr Jarkiholi’s resignation may seem as if he is working in tandem with Mr Singh. But in faxing his resignation to the Speaker, within hours of Mr Singh quitting the legislative post, the Gokak leader is demonstrating his intent to rattle the Congress as part of his long-running feud with the party.
Mr Jarkiholi, who is working, some say, at the behest of BJP bigwigs, has threatened to bring the government down many times in the past few months, but was unable to rustle up the requisite dozen he needs to ensure the fall of the coalition government, which now counts 116 legislators, including the Congress’ 79 and JD(S)’ 37, as opposed to the BJP's 105 in the 224-member Assembly.
There’s no quibbling over the fact that many Congressmen are unhappy at the way JD(S) leader and chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy (coincidentally, now out of the country) has cut the bigger party out, even in the recent Cabinet expansion. Led by the Congress state chief Siddaramaiah, intent on breathing new life into his own Ahinda formation, it already has one foot out of the door. But with none of the parties desiring state polls, it remains to be seen whether the Congress-JD(S) can save the day or whether the Singh-Jarkiholi resignations will set off a chain reaction and bring in what the BJP wants — President’s Rule - and fresh elections in December, along with Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand.