Operation Lotus: Congress governments in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh facing crisis

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A resurgent Congress party appears to be heading for a crisis in at least two out of the six states where it is in power. While the developments in Karnataka have caught the attention of the media, a crisis could well be playing out in Madhya Pradesh as we speak. Media reports have it that the Bharatiya Janata Party could be plotting a coup in the state that it lost by a thin margin to the Congress in December after having ruled it for three consecutive terms. In the recently concluded Assembly elections, the BJP finished second with 109 seats, seven short on the majority in the 230-member House and five behind the Congress. The grand old party, which fell one seat short of the halfway mark, managed to garner the support of the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the four independents to comfortably sail through and form a government. However, recent developments suggest that the BJP has revived its attempts to gain power in these states just ahead of the all-important Lok Sabha elections. MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath, however, did not seem too worried. He did have a word of caution for the BJP though. Protect your own house first, dont worry about the Congress, he said, adding that he had full faith in his MLAs. In Karnataka, the situation turned tense for the Congress with the withdrawal of support by two independent MLAs. Media reports suggest that there are four more MLAs who are ready to withdraw their support from the Congress-JD(S) government in the state which has been on shaky ground from day one. Compared to Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka could prove a challenge for the Congress, considering the numbers and inherent contradictions with the party it has allied with Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy has on record admitted that he was not happy in running the coalition government with the Congress. The JD(S) was never in the race in the state but it was brought in by the Congress which wanted to keep its arch rival BJP out of power. The BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, while Congress was at second with 80 seats. The Congress extended its support to JD(S) which came at third with just 37 seats. In 224-member House, a party needs to reach 113-mark to form the government in the state. Now, two independent MLAs have already withdrawn their support and four more are planning to jump the ship. As of today, the saffron party has the support of 106 MLAs (BJP 104 and independent 2) while the Congress-JD(S) alliance has 117 legislators on their side. Meanwhile, the Congress workers have begun their protest outside the hotel in Gurugram where Karnataka BJP MLAs are staying. The protestors allege that the BJP is indulging in horse trading. Responding to the development, Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy said that the Congress MLAs in Mumbai hotel were unreachable to the media but not to him. I am in touch with everybody and I am speaking to everybody, they will come back. Our coalition is going on smoothly. I was relaxed and I am relaxed, he said. The Congress may be right in saying that it firmly holds power in MP and Rajasthan, but it has to keep its flock together in Karnataka where the BJP has set its eyes for a very long time now.

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