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Grateful for opportunity to govern: Kumaraswamy after losing trust vote in Karnataka Assembly

HD Kumaraswamy. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Bengaluru, Karnataka Jul 23, 2019, 09.47 PM (IST) Written By: Nischita Verrendra

After a dramatic 23 days, the precariously placed HD Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka collapsed, bringing down the first Congress state government after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emphatic win in May 2019. 

The government that had the support of 119 MLAs up till June, came crashing down when 16 MLAs resigned in a week in July.

After many delays, mostly intentional, the coalition government lost the trust vote with 99 MLAs as opposed to 105 with the BJP. 

With the absence of 20 MLAs the house strength was down to 204 making 103 the magic number. The missing MLAs included 12 rebel Congress MLAs, 3 rebel JD(S) MLAs, 2 Congress MLAs who are unwell and undergoing treatment, 2 Independents and 1 BSP MLA. 

Celebrations broke out at BJP office in Bengaluru with supporters sloganeering in favour of BJP State Chief BS Yeddyurappa

''It is the victory of democracy. People were fed up of the Kumaraswamy government. I want to assure people of Karnataka, that a new era of development will start. Farmers suffering due to drought and other factors will be given importance,'' said Yeddyurappa who is set to take over as the next Chief Minister. BJP is expected to stake claim to the government over the next few days. 

''I thank the people of the state for giving me an opportunity to govern'' said HD Kumaraswamy, smiling at the media, probably for the first time since he took over as Chief Minister. 

On the contrary, a visibly upset Siddaramaiah alleged the BJP had won the trust vote by means of horsetrading. 

''Everyone absent is because of them(BJP). They have been kept in wrongful confinement and that is the reason they did not come. It is a betrayal of democracy. This is a conspiracy by BJP to gain power. They have lured them with promises and done horsetrading and won this trust vote. BJP did not have the mandate. They have won 104 seats'' said Siddaramaiah, CLP leader. 

The collapse of the government doesn't just put an end to the uncertainty in the state's administration, but could also lead to the rebel MLAs finally returning from Maharashtra. 

''The result is finally out. There was uncertainty. But we were all hopeful that the government will collapse. We are in Pune and we will return soon... This government was serving only a few people,'' said rebel MLA H Vishwanath, while speaking to a local channel. 

14 MLAs have been holed up in Pune fearing threats and coercion from the coalition leaders over the last two weeks. Soon after the test vote results, the Bahujan Samaj Party expelled it's lone MLA from Karnataka N Mahesh.

Despite party chief Mayawati's directions to support the coalition, Mahesh remained absent leading to his expulsion. 

However, it is not going to be smooth sailing for the next few months. After the resignations are accepted, Karnataka will witness by-polls in the 15 constituencies. 

Also, they face the threat of being disqualified for violating the whip, despite the Supreme Court order ensuring they were not compelled to attend the session. The results of these by-polls could further complicate matters in the assembly where BJP currently has 107 MLAs in its favour. 

In full strength, a government will need the support of a 113 MLAs to survive.