In a jolt to the seven-month-old Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka, two Independent legislators, R. Shankar and H. Nagesh, on Tuesday said they were withdrawing support.
"I had extended support to the JD-S-Congress coalition expecting good governance, but have been disappointed," Shankar told the media.
Shankar, a legislator from Ranebennur Assembly segment in Haveri district, belongs to the regional Karnataka Pragnavantha Janata Party, while Nagesh is an Independent from Mulbagal constituency in Kolar district.
The two Independents shared with the media their letter to Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R. Vala withdrawing their support to the coalition.
The development came amid an ongoing political war between the coalition partners JD-S and Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over alleged poaching of Congress legislators by the BJP.
Senior Congress leader K.C. Venugopal told reporters here that he was confident of the Independents rethinking their decision.
"The Independents have every right to withdraw their support, but we're confident they will be with us," Venugopal said after a meeting with state unit Congress leaders.
Responding to the development, Congress leader and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara blamed the BJP for trying to "topple" a "stable" government.
"BJP is trying to sway the legislators with money power. Their aim is to topple the government, but we are confident of retaining our stability as we have the support of all our legislators," Parameshwara told the media here.
In the 225-member Karnataka Assembly, the Congress has 80 MLAs including the Speaker, the JD-S 37 and the BJP 104.
While the BJP has denied the poaching allegations, it has kept 99 of its 104 legislators at a private resort in Gurugram, adjoining the national capital, state unit spokesman Vamanacharya said.
"A total of 99 legislators are currently at a private resort, while the other five are in Delhi itself and in touch with us," he told IANS here.
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