BSP minister in Karnataka coalition government quits

Bengaluru: Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) lone Minister N Mahesh in Karnataka’s JD-S-Congress coalition government resigned on Thursday, citing personal reasons.

“I have sent my resignation letter to state Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for accepting and relieving me from the cabinet post as I want to devote my time to the people of my constituency,” Mahesh told reporters.

Mahesh, 62, a Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, was elected from Kollegal segment in the state’s southwest Chamarajanagara district in the May 12 assembly elections in a pre-poll alliance with the ruling Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

Kollegal is about 105 km from the state capital Bengaluru.

“Though I have resigned from the ministry for personal reasons, my party will continue to support the coalition government and remain an alliance partner of the JD-S,” said Mahesh.

“I am not able to give time to my constituency people who voted for my party and elected me to represent them in the assembly. As the next Lok Sabha elections are due early next year, I have to also strengthen my party’s presence in the state,” said the BSP leader.

As an alliance partner, Mahesh said the BSP would have seat adjustment with the JD-S in the general elections.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy told reporters that there was no threat to his 3-month-old coalition government following the resignation of Mahesh.

“There is no threat to my government, which is stable. Our party’s alliance with BSP continues. As I know the reason behind his (Mahesh) resignation, I will handle it. Leave it to me,” asserted the Chief Minister.

Asked if he would accept the resignation, Kumaraswamy said he would look into the issue and decide.

The 27-member cabinet has 15 Congress ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, 10 JD-S, including the Chief Minister and one each from its ally BSP and Karnataka Prajnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP), a regional outfit.

Of the 34-member cabinet strength, the Congress has six vacancies and JD-S one.

Though BSP contested in 22 assembly segments in the recent state election, only Mahesh won. JD-S, however, won 36 of the 200 seats it contested.

Mahesh resignation comes ahead of 5 by-elections on November 3 in the state, including three for the Lok Sabha and two for the assembly to fill vacancies caused by four resignations and the death of a newly-elected Congress legislator from Jamkhandi in the northwest Bagalkot district.