Karnataka Speaker disqualifies Independent MLA R Shankar, two Congress rebels

R Shankar was a municipal administration minister in the erstwhile coalition government and his resignation had closely followed the resignation of another Independent MLA - H Nagesh.

Karnataka Speaker disqualifies Independent MLA R Shankar, two Congress rebels

Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh on Thursday evening disqualified Independent MLA R Shankar as well as Congress' rebel MLAs L Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli.

Shankar had tendered his resignation from the JD Kumaraswamy cabinet on July 8, further adding to the troubles for the coalition government in the state which has since collapsed. Shankar had met Governor Vajubhai Vala and had also expressed his desire to support the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Ranebennur MLA had then boarded a flight for Mumbai and had stayed put there.

Shankar was a municipal administration minister in the erstwhile coalition government and his resignation had closely followed the resignation of another Independent MLA - H Nagesh.

Jarkiholi, on the other hand, was among the first few to defect from the coalition. Sources say he has also harboured dreams of being the CM but a disqualification would pour cold water on the possibility of any such ambitions.

Kumathalli, the MLA from Athani, was also disgruntled with Congress and had tendered his resignation as a result of it.

At a press conference on Thursday, Speaker Ramesh said that these MLAs had not appeared before him despite summons issued to them. They have been disqualified from the 15th Legislative Assembly.

The defections from both Congress and the Janata Dal Secular, as well as the resignations from the two Independent MLAs had come as a massive blow to Kumaraswamy. Several efforts were made to reach out to the dissenting MLAs and win back their support but it had mostly come to a nought as the state government would lose the trust vote last Tuesday.

Allegations of horsetrading were made with both Congress and JDS accusing BJP of engineering defections, a charge vehemently denied by the saffron party.

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