Bengaluru: The three-day old BJP government in Karnataka headed by BS Yediyurappa on Monday proved its majority in the truncated state Assembly winning the confidence motion by a voice vote in a smooth affair. Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar announced his resignation soon after Yediyurappa won the trust vote in a process lasting less than an hour after the House met.
With the BJP comfortably placed in the numbers game after the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs that reduced the effective strength of the House, the opposition Congress and JDS did not press for division. The Speaker declared that the one-line motion expressing confidence in the Ministry headed by Yediyurappa had been adopted by the House.
On the eve of the trust vote, Kumar had disqualified 11 Congress MLAs and three JDS lawmakers till the end of the current term of the House in 2023, in addition to three earlier, bringing down the majority mark to 105, equivalent of the current strength of 105 of the BJP, which also enjoyed the support of an Independent.
The Congress has 66 members, JDS 34, the Speaker one (who has a casting vote in case of a tie) and one expelled BSP member who was thrown out of the party for violating its directive to support the HD Kumaraswamy government during the trust vote on July 23.
The Speaker's action on Sunday had come as a big relief to the BJP which emerged triumphant as expected. As was also expected, the Speaker announced his resignation after a 14-month long tenure in office, amid reports that the BJP was mulling moving a no-confidence motion against him.
"I have decided to relieve myself from this office... I have decided to resign," Kumar said and handed over his resignation letter to the Deputy Speaker Krishna Reddy.
Kumar said as the Speaker, he had worked according to his "conscience" and in accordance with the Constitution. "I have upheld the dignity of office to the best of my ability," he added.
Moving the confidence motion, Yediyurappa said he would not indulge in "politics of vengeance" and believed in the "forget and forgive principle”. He said the administrative machinery had collapsed and his priority was to bring it back on track.
"My becoming the chief minister is according to expectations of the people," said Yediyurappa who succeeded Kumaraswamy whose 14-month old government collapsed under the weight of a rebellion by a section of the coalition MLAs.
Seventeen rebel MLAs (Congress-14 and JDS-3) had skipped the Assembly session during the trust vote proceedings on July 23, bringing down the Kumaraswamy government which lost the confidence motion with 99 members voting in favour and 105 against it.
Yediyurappa said he has assumed office in a difficult situation with the state facing drought. "The administrative machinery has collapsed... my priority is to bring it back on track," he said.
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said the Yediyurappa government was "unconstitutional and immoral" and expressed doubts about its longevity. "You have no mandate of the people," Siddaramaiah told Yediyurappa.
"Where is the mandate in your favour... where is the majority... Yediyurappa has become the chief minister with just 105 members," Siddaramaiah said. "Let us see how long you will be (the chief minister) ... I want you to be (CM) for the full term but I don't think you will be able to complete it (the term)," Siddaramaiah told Yediyurappa.
JDS leader Kumaraswamy took exception to Yediyurappa's charge that the administrative machinery had collapsed and said it was a "baseless" one, that did not behove the chief minister.
"I won't comment on the ways you have come to power..," Kumaraswamy said, adding, "you have come to power through conspiracy."
He asked the chief minister to reveal how the administrative machinery had collapsed. "You have come to power through politics of conspiracy... at least now save democracy," Kumaraswamy told Yediyurappa, adding his party would not try to destabilise the BJP government.
He said the JDS opposed the confidence motion as BJP had come to power through "unconstitutional means."
The House also passed the Appropriation Bill, seeking a vote on account for three months. The Finance Bill (Appropriation Bill) needed to be passed "urgently", as otherwise "we will not be able to draw funds even to pay salaries (of government employees)," Yediyurappa had said on Sunday.
(With PTI inputs)