Kumaraswamy resignation: a swift end after prolonged drama

By V.S. Karnic, IANS

Bangalore : H.D. Kumaraswamy’s last day as chief minister began Monday amid intense speculation that the Congress may prop up his minority ministry for some months.

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The speculation got additional fodder early in the morning as Congress general secretary Prithviraj Chavan drove to the governor’s residence around 10 a.m.

Chavan reached here only late in the evening Sunday and it was generally expected that he would meet Governor Rameshwar Thakur in the afternoon as he would need time to consult party leaders.

The media was told that a Congress delegation consisting of state leaders would join him around 11 a.m. This added grist to the speculation that the Congress was veering around to the view that it was in its electoral interest to keep the minority ministry going for some time.

However, the Congress spiked the media speculation and with it any hope Kumaraswamy had of continuing in office with the Congress prop.

Even as Chavan’s meeting with Thakur was on, the Congress let out word that the governor was informed that the party would not support Kumaraswamy and wanted his immediate dismissal if he did not quit.

Kumaraswamy met the governor around noon, giving the slip to the hordes of media persons waiting at the main gate.

The governor told Kumaraswamy that he could be given an opportunity to prove majority on the floor of the assembly only if he produced letters of support.

Kumaraswamy’s party has only 51 members in the 225-member assembly.

Even with the help of some smaller parties and independents, Kumaraswamy could not have mustered the 113 votes needed for majority. The Congress has 65 members and the BJP 79.

With his game plan gone awry, Kumaraswamy drove out of another gate straight to his father’s house in the posh Padmanabha Nagar area, about 10 km from Raj Bhavan. As the father and son mulled over the sudden downswing in their fortunes, Kumaraswamy’s confidantes sent out word to9 the media persons that he would quit in the evening.

He later met the governor in the evening and submitted his resignation.

As the end drama of the 20-month-old government unfolded in the capital, the BJP leaders were away in Tumkur, a 90-minute drive from Bangalore, addressing a massive rally of party workers and supporters on Kumaraswamy’s “betrayal”.

Kumaraswamy became chief minister in February 2006 on the understanding that he will give up his position for the BJP after 20 months. He did not, and the BJP pulled out of the alliance on Sunday.