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It's Advantage Yediyurappa as Karnataka Speaker Disqualifies All 17 Rebel Congress-JDS Lawmakers

The decision of the Speaker indirectly helps BS Yediyurappa, who otherwise had to accommodate these MLAs in his cabinet.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:July 28, 2019, 12:58 PM IST
It's Advantage Yediyurappa as Karnataka Speaker Disqualifies All 17 Rebel Congress-JDS Lawmakers
File photo of Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar.

Bengaluru: In an unprecedented move, Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has disqualified all 17 rebel Congress-JDS MLAs from the legislature till the term of the current Assembly expires.

The 17 lawmakers, who brought down the HD Kumaraswamy government in a dramatic development last week, cannot contest in the by-election during the current term, Kumar said. However, he added that the MLAs could challenge his decision in a court of law.

Addressing the media on Sunday, Kumar — a veteran of Karnataka politics — said: “I hold that Pratap Gouda Patil from Maski constituency, BC Patil from Hirekerur, Shivram Hebbar from Yellapura , ST Somshekar from Yeshwantpur, BS Basavaraj from KR Pura , Anand Singh from Bellary, Roshan Baig from Shivaji Nagar, Munirathna from RR Nagar, Sudhakar from Chikkabalapura and MTB Nagar from Hiskotel have incurred disqualification under X schedule and all of the above cease to be member of Karnataka assembly from 29/7 till expiry of term of assembly.”

He said, “I hold that Vishwanath of Hunsur, Narayan Gowda and Gopalaiah of Mahalakshmi Layout and KR Pete have incurred disqualification ACC to X schedule of Constitution and respondent cease to be members of Karnataka assembly.” Kumar also added the name of Kagwad’s Shrimanth Balasaheb Patil to the list.

The decision, a first for the Karnataka Assembly, has shocked the rebel MLAs and the BJP. However, it has indirectly helped BS Yediyurappa, who otherwise had to accommodate these MLAs in his cabinet after the ruling BJP allegedly promised them ministerial positions in return for their help in bringing down the HDK government.

The total strength of the House has now come down to 207 from the earlier 224 members. The BJP, with 105 MLAs, enjoys wafer-thin majority on its own till the by-elections are held to these 17 seats if the Supreme Court does not overturn the Speaker’s decision.

The JDS and Congress, together with the Speaker, have 100 MLAs. If the BJP manages to win eight seats in the Assembly, it will reach the majority mark of 113 on its own, thus bringing stability to the government.

Though the BJP questioned the decision and termed it as undemocratic, the Congress welcomed it. In a statement, the party said: "The Speaker has done the right thing. The greedy MLAs have been punished for their unconstitutional act. Even the Judiciary will uphold Speaker's order.”

Yediyurappa, who has to prove the majority before the 31st of this month, will find it easier to sail through because of the order. However, the rebel MLAs who have lost the membership may make life difficult for him outside if he does not stand by them.

Meanwhile, the JDS-Congress alliance will have the satisfaction of teaching a befitting lesson to their MLAs who went "rogue".

Legal experts feel that the Karnataka episode has exposed the loopholes in the anti-defection law and the matter should be settled by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court.

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