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Rebel Congress MLAs continue to skip budget session as Kumaraswamy levels new ‘poaching’ allegations on BJP

Amidst the ongoing drama, CM Kumaraswamy also made an attempt to pacify some MLAs who were reportedly unhappy after being denied cabinet berths by giving them plump posts as chairman of various boards and councils with an immediate effect.

Today Karnataka government is scheduled to present the 2019 state budget before the assembly. But, amid the speculations of Congress- JD(S) coalition having dearth of MLAs to support the budget, it has issued whip requiring all its MLAs to be present during the session, failing which they can be disqualified from contesting polls for the next six years.

Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kamitalli, Umesh Jadhav and B Nagendra have repeatedly shown rebellious tendencies against the coalition, as all of them skipped the first day of budget session on February 7, defying the party whip. One of the MLAs, Umesh Jadav has been removed as the chairman of the Warehouse Corporation, after he repeatedly skipped the Congress Legislative Party meetings.

As the 4 Congress MLAs continued to remain absent from the budget session, the CLP led by Siddaramaiah has decided to act against them. Siddaramaiah today stated that he will meet speaker KL Ramesh and ask him to initiate action against the four MLAs under the anti-defection law.

Before the budget, CM Kumaraswamy addressed a press conference slamming BJP and its state leader Yeddyurappa, for allegedly indulging in horse-trading with the coalition’s MLAs. He also released an alleged audiotape between leader Yeddyurappa and JD(S) MLA Naganagowda Kandukar’as son Sharna Gouda. In the tape, a voice, that he alleged was that of a BJP leader is heard offering the JD(S) leader with Rs 25 lakh money and ministerial birth, in lieu of his father’s defection from the coalition. CM Kumaraswamy said that the audio tape is a proof of the large conspiracy of the BJP called ‘Operation Kamal’ or ‘Operation Lotus’, under which it is trying compelling coalition lawmakers to defect, by offering sops and ministerial berths.

The tape was immediately rubbished by Yeddyurappa and state unit of BJP.

“In a desperate attempt to save his govt full-time movie producer turned part-time CM HD Kumaraswamy has used his connection to mimic BS Yeddyurappa’s voice”, BJP Karnataka’s twitter handle took a dig at CM Kumaraswamy.
CM Kumaraswamy also alleged PM Modi of destroying institutions and turning a blind eye towards corruption. He appealed to Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, and MPs to expose the central government and also move a privilege motion against the government. He also challenged BJP to move a no-confidence motion against the government, if they deem that government does not enjoy the support of its MLAs.
Amidst the ongoing drama, CM Kumaraswamy also made an attempt to pacify some MLAs who were reportedly unhappy after being denied cabinet berths by giving them plump posts as chairman of various boards and councils with an immediate effect. Pratap Gauda was made the chairman of the warehousing corporation.
The budget session goes on for 10 days, and the state government has to acquire the confidence of assembly by 15th February. With BJP likely to demand the division of votes, it is imperative for Congress- JD(S) coalition to bring the numbers on the floor, and pass the halfway mark.
In the 225-member Assembly, the Congress enjoys the support of 80 members, including the Speaker, the JD-S 37, the BJP 104 and rest are Independent members of BSP and the KPJP, a regional outfit. The two independent MLAs, H Nagesh, and R Shankar had withdrawn their support from the Karnataka government, last month.
“Even if the four rebels are disqualified, the government will still be able to pass the budget, as the overall strength of the Assembly will come down to 221, with 111 as the halfway mark for a simple majority,” a Congress leader was quoted by News18.

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