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As ‘Accidental CM’ Kumaraswamy Prays for a Miracle, Karnataka Speaker Has 4 Options

All the eyes are now Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar who is expected to return to his office at the Vidhana Soudha on Tuesday. According to experts, Kumar has four options when it comes to the resignations of the MLAs.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:July 9, 2019, 2:04 PM IST
As ‘Accidental CM’ Kumaraswamy Prays for a Miracle, Karnataka Speaker Has 4 Options
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com

Bengaluru: Karnataka is facing the worst-ever political crisis in recent history with 13 MLAs from the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition resigning and half a dozen more MLAs likely to follow them in a day or two.

A shaken HD Kumaraswamy has taken in the resignation of his entire cabinet in a desperate move to save his 14-month-old government, dangling the carrot of cabinet berths before the disgruntled lawmakers. But the rebel MLAs have refused to return to the coalition, saying that it is too late for them to reconsider their decision.

The CM, however, is still confident of saving the chair, while his close aides claim that only a miracle can save his government.

The opposition BJP with 105 MLAs of its own is inching towards majority mark in the 224-member state assembly and is allegedly sheltering the rebels at a five-star hotel in Mumbai.

All eyes were on Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, who returned to his office at the Vidhana Soudha on Tuesday. Faced with a tough challenge, Kumar, a Congress veteran and a trained lawyer, put off his decision and said he wants to meet the MLAs personally first.

According to constitutional experts, he has the following options:

- He can call each MLA and accept their resignations. In that case, the Kumaraswamy government will lose majority, forcing the Governor to act.

- The Speaker can delay his decision on the resignations by issuing notice to all MLAs.

- He can even reject all resignations. The 14 MLAs can then move court challenging him.

- Kumar can even disqualify all MLAs under the anti-defection law. Again, the MLAs can go to court.

The BJP is closely watching the developments and has reportedly asked its leaders to maintain that there is no horse-trading going on and that the MLAs have quit due to internal issues in the ruling coalition.

A section in the state BJP is worried over the developments, claiming that rolling out a red carpet to rebel MLAs will deprive BJP’s own leaders of ministerial opportunities. According to the buzz in political circles, the BJP has promised cabinet berths to all 15 rebel MLAs.

A major partner in the government, the Congress is looking directionless after the resignation of its national president, Rahul Gandhi. Its state leaders Siddaramaiah and Mallikarjuna Kharge are trying their best to save the government.

There is also a lot of anger against party in-charge in Karnataka and AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, with many MLAs alleging that his attitude has complicated the crisis.

The Gowda family, which is in the eye of the storm for allowing the government to fall because of what sources claim is its “high handedness, indifferent attitude, daily interference in governance and promotion of family members over loyal party leaders”, seems to have realised that the ground beneath is really slipping.

The family patriarch, HD Deve Gowda, has blamed the Congress and categorically told its leaders that the onus is now on them.

Top JD(S) leaders admit that only a miracle can prevent the fall of the Kumaraswamy government as his chances are fading faster and a panicked party is committing one blunder after another.

In the last 50 years, except during the reign of D Devaraja Urs (first term), SM Krishna and Siddaramaiah, Karnataka always had a shaky government. Some even blame the ‘vastu’ of the Vidhana Soudha, a magnificent edifice which is also the seat of power in the state.

The theatre of the absurd moves on to next level. And the accidental CM is waiting for a miracle to happen.

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