BSY's Chocolates, Dinner Offer: Amid Drama & Unusual Scenes, Speaker Adjourns K'taka Assembly till 10am
Bengaluru: After a late-night drama in the Vidhana Soudha, the Karnataka session was adjourned till Tuesday. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar said he will be in the seat exactly at 10am and before 4pm division of vote should end and he won’t wait even a second after that.
Members of the ruling Congress-Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) in Karnataka have been seeking more time from the speaker to complete trust vote and prove majority of the HD Kumaraswamy government.
However, Kumar had said that he would not let the House get adjourned even if he had to sit till late in the night amid similar demands by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition BS Yeddyurappa.
Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy showed a ‘fake’ resignation letter to the speaker and told him that the same was doing the rounds in social media. The CM said the letter purportedly addressed to the Governor was being circulated even as he was sitting in the Assembly.
The crisis in the Assembly occurred after 16 MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from JDS —resigned, while independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh withdrew their support to the coalition government, putting the government to the precipice. Days later, a Congress member Ramalinga Reddy retracted, saying he would support the government.
Sources said the government wanted to disqualify the rebel MLAs before trust vote and hence the delaying tactics. Earlier, it was said that HDK has sought an appointment with Governor Vajubhai Vala at 7pm and may quit today without floor test. However, sources in CMO denied the claims and said that no such meeting was sought.
Amid suggestions that dinner be prepared for the legislators as they might have to wait for the trust motion till late in the night, Yeddyuruppa distributed chocolates to everyone.
Women MLAs of the Congress reportedly urged the speaker to adjourn the House on the ground that they were women and had to go home, while BJP lawmakers insisted to go ahead with the session.
Earlier in the day, the speaker had told the Congress-JDS alliance to proceed with the trust vote, saying “everyone was watching them” and he should not “be made the scapegoat” in the political crisis. As the assembly reconvened on Monday, there were voices demanding a final call on the resignation of rebel MLAs, but Kumar fixed a 6pm deadline for the trust vote.
Hours ago, the Supreme Court refused to urgently hear the plea of two Independent legislators demanding an immediate floor test by 5pm.
The fate of the fragile Congress-JDS government in Karnataka hangs in balance, even as a new twist to the political saga saw the grand old party assert that the JDS was “ready to sacrifice” for the coalition and they wanted either Siddaramaiah, G Parameshwara or DK Shivakumar to be the chief minister.
A day before the vote, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy appealed to rebel MLAs to return and "expose" the BJP during the debate in the House, but they ruled out attending the session.
Yeddyurappa exuded confidence that "tomorrow will be the last day of the Kumaraswamy government" and said the chief minister was just trying to buy time.
After the voting on confidence motion did not take place despite two deadlines on July 19 set by Governor Vajubhai Vala, two Independent MLAs, who withdrew support to the Congress-JD(S) government, are going to move the Supreme Court seeking a direction for conducting a floor test forthwith in the state Assembly, their lawyer said.
In their petition, MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh have sought a direction to the Kumaraswamy government to hold the floor test on or before 5pm on July 22, senior advocate Mukul Rohatagi, said.
The ruling combine’s strength 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 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and three from JDS) are accepted or if they stay away, the ruling coalition’s tally will plummet to 101, (excluding the Speaker) reducing the government to a minority.
BJP's strength is also likely to come down to 106, as Shankar who has extended support to the saffron party will not attend the session, according to sources.