In a last-ditch effort to save the 13-month-old Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka which has been hit by resignations of over a dozen MLAs, the Congress Monday said its ministers have resigned voluntarily to enable a reshuffle of the cabinet and make way for the disgruntled legislators.
This decision was taken at a breakfast meeting of Congress ministers at Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara's residence here. The meeting was attended by CLP leader Siddaramaiah and AICC general secretary K C Venugopal among others.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy held discussions with Congress leaders after the meeting.
"For the larger interest of the party, yesterday and today, we had detailed discussions with senior leaders and ministers. Today morning, we met the ministers. In the prevailing condition, the ministers themselves voluntarily resigned ministership as far as the Congress ministers are concerned," Venugopal said after the meeting.
Speaking to reporters, he said, "They have left it to the Congress party to take the necessary decision to reshuffle the cabinet to settle the issues in the present scenario. I sincerely thank the ministers."
CLP leader Siddaramaiah too said all Congress ministers have voluntarily resigned and have given "full freedom" to the party to reshuffle the ministry.
The coalition government in the state has plunged into a crisis with 13 MLAs -- 10 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) -- resigning.
On Monday, Karnataka minister and Independent MLA H Nagesh resigned and withdrew support to the H D Kumaraswamy-led government, delivering another blow to the shaky coalition, which faces the risk of losing its majority if the resignations are accepted.
Ten out of the total 13 MLAs who have resigned are now camping at a hotel in Mumbai.
According to sources, the JD(S) too is contemplating a similar move to seek resignation from its ministers ahead of the reshuffle.
Venugopal said the party was ready to discuss everything and the MLAs who have resigned should come back.
"We are confident they will come back," he said.
He said the Congress will "strongly" face this situation, adding, "We strongly believe in the strength of the party in Karnataka and are confident this government will continue."
Accusing the BJP of trying to destabilise the government, Venugopal further said, "This is the sixth time the BJP has tried to destabilise the coalition government in the state. They have tried five times in the past, but failed miserably. This time also, they will fail. They are using money power and central agencies to destabilise the government."