13 MLAs have quit the assembly and one Independent has withdrawn support to the government
The recent developments could see the Congress-JD(S) lose majority in the assembly
The developments could lead to a revamped Congress-JD(S) government or BJP coming to power
Bengaluru, July 9, 2019: The government of Karnataka is on the brink of falling with several MLAs of the ruling Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) parties submitting their resignations to the Speaker of the Karnataka assembly. All the Congress ministers have resigned from the state cabinet and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded that HD Kumaraswamy resign as chief minister.
Worsening the crisis for the Congress-JD(S) coalition, Independent MLA Mulabagal Nagesh resigned as a minister Monday morning and offered support to the BJP.
All these developments have pushed the Congress-JD(S) government to a precarious position. From the Congress-JD(S) remaining in power albeit with an entire new government to the Bharatiya Janata Party staking claim to the CM’s post, there are a number of possible scenarios that may play out over the next few days.
Before we get to the various scenarios, let’s take a look at the composition of the Karnataka assembly before the crisis hit the government:
The Karnataka assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member assembly is 113.
Now, before the recent spate of resignations, the Congress had 78 MLAs, the JD(S) 37 and the BJP 105. The Congress-JD(S) also had the support of the nominated MLA, an MLA each from the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Karnataka Prajnyavantha Janatha Party, and one Independent.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition effectively had the support of 119 MLAs in an assembly where the halfway mark was 113.
This was before the resignations of 13 MLAs -- 10 from the Congress, three from the JD(S) - pushed the Karnataka government into a crisis.
So, what do the numbers look like now?
Well, if we were to assume that the resignations of the 13 MLAs are accepted by the Speaker, the Karnataka assembly’s strength comes down to 212 from 225. Correspondingly, the halfway mark comes down to 106 from 113.
Now, remember that one Independent MLA who was previously supporting the Congress-JD(S) has switched sides to the BJP. So, the Congress-JD(S)’s effective strength comes down by 14 to 105. Simultaneously, the BJP’s support base in the Karnataka assembly increases by one to 106.
Now, let’s take a look at all the possible scenarios that may play out in Karnataka.
SCENARIO 1: CONGRESS-JD(S) REMAIN IN POWER
The first possible scenario is that the Congress and the JD(S) remain in power but with a radically different looking government. The 13 rebel MLAs would be asked to take back their resignations and would be placated by being offered cabinet positions.
The resignations of the Congress ministers Monday morning suggest that this scenario is already in already in play. There are also reports that the JD(S) too would ask its ministers to resign in order to make room for the 13 rebel MLAs.
What happens to HD Kumarswamy in this situation? Well, it could go either ways -- Kumarswamy may continue being the chief minister of a revamped government or he may quit and make way for a new chief minister, perhaps from the Congress.
SCENARIO 2: BJP COMES TO POWER
As the numbers stand right now, its advantage BJP in Karnataka.
As we calculated earlier, the BJP currently has the support of 106 MLAs. And, if the 13 MLAs’ resignations are accepted, the Congress-JD(S)’s strength would be reduced to 105.
Now, with the 13 MLAs gone, the halfway mark in the Karnataka assembly would come down to 106. In this situation, the Congress-JD(S) government would fall.
The Governor may then choose to invite the BJP -- the largest party in the assembly -- to form the government. The party, with the support of 106 MLAs, would just be able to reach the new halfway mark of 106.
SCENARIO 3: FRESH ELECTIONS
Scenario No. 3 is an extension of the previous scenario. Everything remains the same as in Scenario No. 2 -- the resignations of the 13 MLAs are accepted, and the Congress-JD(S) government is reduced to 105 in an assembly where the halfway mark is 106.
However, the Governor instead of inviting the BJP to form the government calls for fresh elections to be held in the state.
In this situation, either of two things could happen: HD Kumaraswamy could either be asked to remain as caretaker chief minister until elections are held, or the state goes under Governor’s Rule till polls are held.
SCENARIO 4: HUNG ASSEMBLY
The final -- and distant -- possibility is that the Congress chooses to walk out of the government, creating a hung assembly in Karnataka.
This scenario could play out if Rahul Gandhi realises that he still is the Congress president (he’s resigned from the post, but continues to hold until the party figures out the way forward) and asks his MLAs in Karnataka to withdraw support to withdraw support to the coalition government.
In this case, the 13 MLAs remain in the Karnataka assembly and the halfway mark remains at 113. No party would have majority in the resultant hung assembly.
What happens next in this situation is for the Governor to decide -- he could place the state under Governor’s rule or appoint a caretaker chief minister to run a government until fresh elections are held.