Karnataka Assembly: Only 3 CMs served full terms in state’s volatile politics

Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday resigned as Karnataka Chief Minister after losing the trust vote in the Vidhan Soudha he had moved on July 18 to prove majority. Kumaraswamy lost the floor test by 6 votes after a four-day marathon debate on the motion. While 99 votes were in favour of the confidence motion, 105 were against it. Of the 225-member Assembly (including a nominated member), 20 MLAs, mostly from the ruling coalition, were absent for the House, reducing the strength to 205 with 103 as the halfway mark for majority. Of the 20 MLAs who were absent for the House, 15 were rebels of the Congress-JD(S) coalition, two Congress members who are in private hospitals in the city and in Mumbai for treatment, two Independents and one Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member. But this was not the first time that the Karnataka government has faced turbulence. In fact, in the seven-odd decades since its creation, only three chief ministers have served a full term – S Nijalingappa (1962-68), D Devaraja Urs (1972-77) and Siddaramaiah (2013-2018), all from the Congress party. No CM from BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) of Kumaraswamy could manage to complete full term. In the remaining 12 Assemblies (including the fifteenth Assembly), the state has seen more than one Chief Minister, the most being in the first Assembly – four CMs between June 18, 1952 and March 31, 1957. The ninth (December 18, 1989 to September 20, 1994), twelfth (May 28, 2004 to November 19, 2007) and thirteenth May 30, 2008 to May 5, 2013) Assemblies saw three Chief Ministers each. The fifteenth Assembly has already seen two Chief Ministers – BS Yeddyurappa (May 17, 2018 to May 19, 2018) and HD Kumaraswamy who took charge on May 23, 2018 and quit on July 23, 2019. The 15th Assembly was constituted on May 15, 2018 after it was delivered with a hung verdict. The Congress and JD(S) forged a post-poll alliance to go beyond the halfway mark of 113 in the 225-member House which includes one nominated member. The BJP emerged as the single largest political party with 105 MLAs. Karnataka is the only southern state where the BJP has made gains in the last two decades. The party formed the first government in 2008 (the year thirteenth Assembly was constituted) under BS Yeddyurappas leadership. However, BSYs name was mired into scams and he was removed from the chair by the BJP in July 2011. The thirteenth Assembly then saw two more BJP leaders – DV Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar serving as the CM of Karnataka before the fourteenth Assembly was set up on May 13, 2013. In case of Kumaraswamy, his first stint as the CM of Karnataka in the BJP-led coalition government lasted less than two years from February 2006 to October 2007. His second term began in May 2018 after Congress extended an unconditional support to the him. He quit as the CM after heading the government for 14 months.