The seven-month-old Jagadish Shettar government is likely to face an acid test in the budget session of the state Legislature which begins on Monday. This is the last session of the 13th Assembly whose term ends in May.
It may not be smooth sailing for Shettar following the recent resignation of 14 BJP legislators, including two ministers Shobha Karandlaje and C M Udasi.
Of the 225-member Assembly, the strength of BJP has reduced to 105, followed by 71 Congress, 26 JD(S), seven independents and 14 seats are vacant.
Although, former CM and KJP state president B S Yeddyurappa has been saying that he was not interested in toppling the Shettar government, ruling party leaders say that it is very difficult to predict his moves as he does not seem to want Shettar to present the budget on February 8.
According to BJP sources, many BJP legislators are likely to the join the KJP after the budget session. The BJP wants to complete the budget session and then prepare for the Assembly polls which may be held anytime. In case Shettar dissolves the Assembly, he will continue as caretaker CM till the new government is installed.
Both Congress and JD(S) are in poll mode. While the Congress leaders are holding padayatras, JD(S) president H D Kumaraswamy is busy covering all the Assembly constituencies. The Congress is not ready to move a no-confidence motion against the state government because it does not have requisite numbers. It has to seek the support of the JD(S) which is not ready to join hands with Congress.
The Congress may demand that the state government prove its majority but the ruling party has already held talks with independents and BSR Congress who have reportedly agreed to come to the rescue of the government. Last week, it is said that BSR Congress president B Sriramalu promised Shettar that his party will extend support if some more BJP MLAs resign.