With more Congress and JD(S) legislators besides the 13 expected to resign from the state legislative assembly, the opposition BJP may be gung-ho over toppling the coalition and forming a new government, but there still appears sizeable hurdles along the way.
Of the 13 MLAs who have quit, four Congress leaders from Bengaluru may not aid their cause as their "personal grouse" could well be resolved even before speaker KR Ramesh Kumar takes a decision on the resignations.
Congress sources say ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraju, N Munirathna and Ramalinga Reddy have no real issues with the running of the coalition government per se, but only harbour personal differences with deputy chief minister G Parameshwara, who holds the Bengaluru development portfolio.
Reddy has been miffed with Parameshwara ever since the DyCM curtailed the powers of BBMP mayor Gangambika Mallikarjun — a proxy of Reddy. For example, the mayor's discretionary fund of close to Rs 150 crore was cut and the government released only Rs 40 crore.
Besides, Parameshwara allegedly centralized BDA powers around him, reducing Somashekar, the agency's chairman, to a mere "rubber stamp". The appointment of IAS officer N Manjula to the agency also did not go down well with the Yeshwantpur MLA.
Basavaraju and Munirathna too have problems with Parameshwara as he allegedly refused to commit on their demands of allocation of funds for their constituencies.
Parameshwara, on Sunday, defended himself, insisting he hadn't done anything intentionally to hurt Reddy or the others through his actions or inactions. "There is no reason for the Bengaluru MLAs to feel antagonised by me," Parameshwara said. "It is their opinion and people are free to have their opinion. We cannot do much about it."
Congress workers suggest the quartet could do a "Uturn", considering their loyalty to the party and CLP leader Siddaramaiah.
"If the problem is resolved with either Reddy replacing Parameshwara or the Bangalore development portfolio being handed over to an acceptable third candidate, then the four MLAs may return to the fold within a day or two," said one Congress leader.
On the other hand, the BJP is hoping the quartet's grouse festers until the numbers favour the saffron party.
"There may be a trust deficit between the Bengaluru rebel Congress MLAs and the BJP, but we are hoping their personal grouse is stronger than what is being perceived," said one BJP leader who is part of the poaching efforts of the party. "They have admitted to us that the insults they have faced time and again has brought them to the brink of leaving the Congress. We intend to capitalise on this."