The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka headed by Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy is teetering on the brink of collapse, with 14 MLAs of the ruling coalition first shifted to Mumbai and from there by road to Goa to stop 'poaching'. All the ministers have resigned to give Kumaraswamy a free hand to induct some of the rebel MLAs as ministers.
Ten Congress and three JD(S) rebel MLAs had already submitted their resignations to the Speaker on Saturday triggering a major crisis for the 13-year-old coalition government. The Centre is keenly keeping an eye on the political developments in the state which had witnessed a fractured mandate after last year's Assembly elections.
The political spectacle that we are witnessing now in Karnataka began the day Kumaraswamy took oath as the Chief Minister, after a coalition was hurriedly cobbled up between the two major parties. Kumaraswamy is on record on having said that he did not know how long his government would last. He had also remarked that he was wearing a crown of thorns and only he knew how he was running the government, and at what cost.
Kumaraswamy shed tears in public several times and the Congress, itself a house divided, alleged that the main opposition party BJP was 'poaching' its MLAs. There is nothing to be surprised about because any opposition party will definitely try to reap benefits from the infighting that is going on inside the coalition.
The ball is now in the Speaker's court. He has to decide about the resignation letters submitted by the MLAs. The Chief Minister has openly offered ministerial posts to the dissidents, but the situation is right now in a fluid state.
I do not think the BJP will step in quickly to induct the rebel MLAs and stake claim to form a government. If it does so, the Congress party's charge that it was 'poaching' its MLAs will stick. Though the JD(S) has given a deadline to the Congress to put its house back in order, there are slim chances of the rebels returning. In such a circumstance, the Chief Minister may tender his resignation, and it would then be open to the Governor to decide the future course of action.
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The government must identify such people and action must be taken against them. Inciting people in the name of religion and injecting communal poison in a civil society is a crime.