Thursday, January 20, 2022

Karnataka political crisis: Fate of govt. in balance on eve of trust vote

By PTI Updated: Jul 18, 2019 12:42 am

New Delhi/Bengaluru, July 17 (PTI): The survival of the 14-month-old Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka hangs precariously on the eve of the trust vote with the Supreme Court on Wednesday holding that the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs cannot be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing Assembly session.

As the court order virtually sounded the death knell for Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in the battle for numbers on the floor of the House, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in its order at the same time gave Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar the freedom to decide on the resignation of the 15 MLAs within such time-frame as considered appropriate by him.

Locked in an intense face-off with rebel MLAs whose resignation he has refused to accept that would have led to the collapse of the government after being reduced to a minority, Speaker Kumar welcomed the court decision and said he would conduct himself responsibly in accordance with the principles of the Constitution.

Hailing the decision, the rebel MLAs camping in Mumbai said there was no question of going back on their resignations from the Assembly or attending the session while Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa said Kumaraswamy will have to resign on Thursday when he faces the confidence vote in the Assembly since he has no majority.

Expressing reservations on the order, the Congress said it nullifed the whip and provided “blanket protection” to MLAs who have betrayed public mandate, setting a “terrible judicial precedent”.

The court order on pleas by rebel MLAs for a direction to the Speaker to take a decision on their resignations comes a day before the Congress-JD(S) government faces a floor test which will end the suspense over the numbers game triggered by a raft of resignations by lawmakers of the ruling coalition.

While 16 MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from JD(S) — have resigned, two independent MLAs S Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government.

The ruling coalition’s strength in the House is 117– Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, and nominated 1, besides the Speaker.

With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 225-member House, including the nominated MLA and Speaker.

If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted or if they are not present in the House, the ruling coalition’s tally will be reduced to 101.

According to official sources, a nominated member also has the right to vote.

By PTI Updated: Jul 18, 2019 12:42:29 am