Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday rejected demands for his resignation in the wake of 16 Congress-Janata Dal Secular MLAs quitting, which has pushed his 13-month old coalition government to the brink of collapse.
His response comes a day after the Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by its chief B S Yeddyurappa, staged a protest at the Vidhan Soudha, demanding the resignation of Kumaraswamy, who they claimed had lost majority in the House.
"Why should I resign? What is the necessity for me to resign now?," Kumaraswamy shot back to reporters in Bengaluru, amidst the speculation that he could put in his papers in the wake of the crisis.
He recalled that in 2009-10, 18 MLAs, including some ministers, had "opposed" the then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa of the Bharatiya Janata Party but he had not resigned.
The chief minister held discussions with senior Congress leaders on Thursday, after the coalition government headed by him suffered a fresh jolt with two more Congress legislators resigning on Wednesday, talking the tally of MLAs who have put in their papers to 16.
The Congress-Janata Dal-Secular coalition faces the threat of losing its majority in the assembly if the resignations are accepted as its current tally is 116 in the 224 member House.
Congress MLAs MTB Nagaraj and K Sudhakar submitted their resignations to Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar at his chamber in Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat, on Wednesday.
Yeddyurappa and other BJP leaders had petitioned the governor in connection with the political developments in the state.
Of the 16 MLAs who have resigned, 13 are from the Congress and three from the JD-S. The coalition's strength in the House is 116 (Congress 78, JD-S 37 and BSP one), besides the speaker.
With the support of the two independents, who resigned from the ministry on Monday, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the halfway mark is 113.
If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will be reduced to 100.