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The Karnataka crisis timeline: How have events unfolded so far

The full timeline of events that led to 17 MLAs being disqualified from the Karnataka Legislative Assembly after the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-Congress coalition government and BJP's B S Yediyurappa taking over as the 25th Chief Minister of the state.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: July 28, 2019 5:07:59 pm
Yeddyurappa: The man who never takes it easy BJP state president BS Yediyurappa with party MLAs in Karnataka Assembly. (PTI)

Following the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka on July 23 which led to BJP leader B S Yediyurappa taking oath as the 25th Chief Minister of the state on July 26, Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar disqualified 17 rebel MLAs who tendered resignations from July 1. The resignations had pushed the state to the a deep political crisis, which is yet to be overcome.

Following is the timeline of the events that lead up to the disqualifications of the legislators being announced by the Assembly speaker.

July 28 – Speaker disqualifies 14 MLAs – 11 Cong, 3 JD(S)

Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar announced disqualification of 14 more MLAs – 11 from Congress and 3 from JD(S) – making the total number of legislators disqualified from the membership in the Karnataka legislative assembly to 17. The MLAs disqualified on Sunday for attracting anti-defection laws according to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution include – Pratap Gouda Patil, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, K Sudhakar, Muniratna, MTB Nagaraj, Shrimant Patil, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda, and Gopalaiah.

While the Congress welcomed the move, CLP leader Siddarmaiah said, ” The verdict to disqualify all 14 MLAs under anti-party activities is a real victory for democracy. However, the BJP camp was not happy with the move. Former CM and senior MLA Jagadish Shettar criticised the Speaker’s move saying, “Never expected a person of his (Ramesh Kumar) calibre to take such a decision. This has brought justice to none.”

July 26 – Yediyurappa meets Guv at morning; takes oath as CM by evening

Soon after the state BJP camp “got a phone call from Delhi and a final nod from Amit Shah to go ahead” for the government-formation, a delegation of senior leaders including CM designate Yediyurappa met Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala to stake claim to form the government. The Governor, approving Yediyurappa’s request to take oath as CM on Friday itself, scheduled the ceremony for 6 pm. The Governor directed Yediyurappa to prove his confidence in the House within a week.

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Meanwhile, in an attack directed at the Karnataka Governor for inviting Yeddyurappa for forming government in the state despite not reaching halfway mark to prove majority Congress’ leader Adv. VS Ugrappa during press conference, said, “BJP does not have the numbers to prove majority yet. The Governor continues to act like a BJP agent. The invitation extended by him to Yeddyurappa to form the government is unconstitutional. It is against the mandate given by the people of Karnataka.”

Later during the evening, Yediyurappa took oath as the 25th CM of Karnataka at the Raj Bhavan, becoming the only person in the history of the state to swear-in to the post for the fourth time. While Congress leaders were directed not to attend the ceremony termed “unconstitutional & unethical based on horse-trading and corrupt methods,” suspended Congress MLA R Roshan Baig attending the ceremony was noted by many.

July 25 – BJP delegation reaches Delhi to meet top brass; one rebel MLA returns to Bengaluru; 3 MLAs disqualified

A delegation of Karnataka BJP leaders including Basavaraj Bommai and former CM Jagadish Shettar flew to Delhi to brief senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah and J P Nadda on the confidence vote and the political situation in Karnataka. The state BJP camp shared hopes of the central leaders giving a green signal for them to stake a claim to form the government, throughout the day.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Renukacharya said that there was no confusion or any issues within the BJP on having Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister. “The issue had been decided long ago and blamed the erstwhile coalition government for spreading rumours about the BJP,” he said.

At the same time, Shivaram Hebbar, one among the rebel MLAs camping in Mumbai since tendering their resignations, returned to Bangalore He claimed that there is “unity among all the MLAs” who were staying together outside Bengaluru. Reacting to Siddaramaiah’s statement that the rebel MLAs will never be inducted into party, Hebbar replied, “He (Siddarmaiah) was our leader but not anymore.”

By evening, Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar announced disqualification of three rebel MLAs – independent MLA R Shankar and Congress rebels -Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli. The Speaker said that the three MLAs were disqualified the Vidhana Soudha “with immediate effect till the expiry of the 15th legislative assembly of Karnataka,” citing anti-defection laws in accordance to the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution. He added that the decision on the other MLAs who have resigned would be taken in a couple of days.

July 24 – BJP legislators meet under Yeddyurappa’s leadership

A day after H D Kumaraswamy resigned as chief minister following the collapse of the JD(S)-Congress coalition government, BJP legislators got together in Bengaluru to discuss on the steps to be taken to form a government. While the legislative party meeting took place throughout the day, a final decision on when BJP Karnataka president and legislative party leader Yeddyurappa would take oath as the chief minister was not taken. Leaders clarified that they were waiting for the high command to advise them on the same.

Meanwhile, BJP general secretary in-charge for Karnataka who flew down to the state capital said, “The BJP government will be stable as granite, once it is formed in Karnataka. Everybody is happy that the (coalition) government failed to survive any longer.”

At the same time, N Mahesh, the lone BSP MLA in Karnataka assembly who was expelled from the party by leader Mayawati claimed that he was asked to stay neutral and not to attend the Assembly by his party in-charge for the state. Mayawati had tweeted on July 23, soon after Kumaraswamy lost confidence in the House that Mahesh was expelled from the party on grounds of not attending the trust vote session, as directed. “Our party in-charge Ashok Siddharth told me to abstain from voting and be neutral and not support any party. That was the instruction given to me. Accordingly, I was absent. I haven’t violated Behen Ji (Mayawati)’s order,” Mahesh said.

While Congress and JD(S) legislators held meetings separately, speculations arose that the parties would give up on their alliance with each other.

July 23: Kumaraswamy fails to prove majority, Cong-JD(S) government collapses

During his speech before seeking a trust vote, Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy apologises for the delay and the ‘shameful’ events that unfolded in Vidhana Soudha during the last two weeks. “I had no intention to drag the trust vote, I apologise to the Speaker and people of the state,” he said.

He further added that farmers in the state expressed trust in a coalition government as “we have met all their demands and have waived off all the loans of farmers.”

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An emotional Kumaraswamy advised the BJP leaders to “tutor (their) social media workers to have ethics when they talk about the state chief minister.” He confessed that it was a “terrible decision” he took to join the BJP in 2008. “My father (Former Prime Minister H D Devegowda) told me not to do it. That was the first and the last time I went against my father,” he explained.

Interestingly, the Speaker himself revealed that he was ready with his resignation if he was not able to complete the proceedings by the end of the day. He handed over the letter to the leader of opposition B S Yeddyurappa in the House asking him to check the same.

The House went for a trust vote after the Speaker pressed for a division of vote, on the request of the CM after his speech. “99 votes for the government. While 105 members have voted against the government, HD Kumaraswamy has failed the confidence vote,” Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar confirmed after counting the votes.

July 22: Trust vote postponed again; Assembly active till late hours

Right from the beginning of the proceedings at 12 noon on Monday, Speaker Ramesh Kumar expressed his commitment to conclude the confidence vote proceedings by the end of the day. “I will have to pass a ruling today. I was delayed as I was checking the Supreme Court order. In your speeches, today, make sure that the dignity of Assembly is kept alive. These are time stalling tactics being used. It harms the image of Assembly, Speaker and also the image of you as MLAs,” the Speaker said as he began the day in Vidhana Soudha.

Leader of opposition Yeddyurappa demanded that the trust vote should be held by the end of the day, even if the session continued till 12 midnight. At the same time, Congress troubleshooter D K Shivakumar met media persons outside the House ‘warning’ rebel MLAs to return back to the Assembly by 11 am on July 23, hinting at possibilities of the floor test being postponed again.

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Speaker Ramesh Kumar adjourns the Assembly till 10 am on July 23, much to the protest of BJP legislators, directing that all proceedings on the matter should conclude by 6 pm on July 23.

Incidentally, the Congress-JD(S) government collapsed in Karnataka exactly on the day marking 14 months since the grand swearing-in ceremony held at the steps of the Vidhana Soudha on May 23, 2018.

July 21: Independent MLAs move SC seeking trust vote

Independent MLAs who resigned from the Kumaraswamy-led cabinet withdrawing their support for the Karnataka coalition government, H Nagesh and R Shankar approached the Supreme Court on Sunday. The petition filed through their advocate Diksha Rai mentioned that the coalition government is “deliberately” delaying the trust vote as they sought holding of the floor test “forthwith” in the Vidhana Soudha on the trust motion moved by CM Kumaraswamy.

July 20: Congress-JD(S) leaders hold marathon meetings

With just under 48 hours for the ‘designated’ time slot to begin for Kumaraswamy’s confidence motion in Vidhana Soudha, all parties held marathon meetings to decide on their respective strategies for the proceedings slated for Monday.

While Yeddyurappa continued to criticise the Congress-JD(S) coalition of defying two deadlines set by the Governor, the coalition partners moved a step further by moving the Supreme Court seeking clarification on the ‘whip’ interim order pronounced on July 17.

July 19: House fails to meet second deadline sent by Governor

As BJP MLAs began the day by demanding that the floor test should be held during the day, Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was visibly annoyed at the Opposition. “People know me. I don’t have lakhs of money stashed up like others and I have enough strength to take a non-partisan decision,” he said.

Congress MLA Srinivas Gowda’s allegation that BJP members Aswath Narayan, CP Yogeshwar and SR Vishwanath went to his house offering Rs 5 crore to resign and join them fuelled debates on “BJP poaching and horse-trading” and ‘Operation Kamala.’

This picture of opposition unity at Kumaraswamy's swearing-in could make PM Modi uneasy JD(S)’s HD Kumaraswamy and Congress’ G Parameshwara with Governor Vajubhai Vala, after taking oath as Chief Minister and Deputy CM of Karnataka at Vidhana Soudha respectively. (File Photo)

Meanwhile, Governor Vajubhai Vala directed chief minister H D Kumaraswamy to prove his confidence in the House before 6 pm on July 19, after the first deadline set by the Governor at 1.30 pm was not met. However, the CM chose to respond to the same saying he has received a “second love letter” from the Governor on behalf of the state government.

However, as political debates failed to see a conclusion even at the end of the day, the Assembly was adjourned till 11 am on July 22 (Monday) without taking up the voting on the confidence motion.

July 18: Ramalinga Reddy withdraws resignation; No floor test held, BJP holds over-night protest

As the session began on Friday, senior Congress MLA and former Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy withdrew his resignation and reached Vidhana Soudha, asserting that he would back the coalition.

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At the same time, BJP legislators continued to demand that the floor test should be held on July 18, as promised, while Speaker Ramesh Kumar decided that the debates on the confidence motion should be completed first.

Meanwhile, a delegation of BJP leaders led by former chief minister Jagadish Shettar met Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala to complain about Speaker Ramesh Kumar delaying further processes by not holding a floor test, as promised before.

However, the Governor Vajubhai Vala directed the Speaker to conduct trust vote by the end of the day. The Governor’s message was read out in Vidhana Soudha by speaker Ramesh Kumar, after which high drama and high-decibel debates continued in Vidhana Soudha.

Congress MLAs objected to the Governor’s interference in House proceedings and also alleged BJP leaders of ‘abducting’ Congress MLA Shrimant Patil to Mumbai. He was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai allegedly “suffering from chest pain.”

The Speaker adjourned the session by 6.30 as ruckus in the House continued after which BJP leaders said they were ready to stay the whole night in the house, till they get justice. BJP MLAs slept in Vidhana Soudha as they held an over-night protest.

Later, the Governor set a deadline of 1.30 pm on July 19 for the CM to prove his confidence in the House.

July 17: Whip not applicable to rebel MLAs, says SC

The Supreme Court said the 15 rebel MLAs should not be compelled to take part in House proceedings. However, the apex court left it to the Speaker to take a decision on resignations of 15 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs “within a time frame he (Speaker) thinks appropriate.”

The same also indicated that the ‘whip’ issued by the parties were not applicable to the rebel legislators.

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At the same time, the JD(S) also issued whip to its MLAs, including rebels H Vishwanath, Narayana Gowda, H Gopalaiah, to be present for trust vote at Vidhana Soudha on July 18. The whip warned the legislators of ‘action initiated under Anti-defection law’ on the failure of compliance to the same.

Meanwhile, rebel MLAs in Mumbai reiterated that “there is no question of going (back) to the Karnataka Assembly.”

July 16: Congress MLAs in Bangalore shifted to resort

Ahead of the confidence motion scheduled to be held on July 18, Congress MLAs arrived at a resort in Devanahalli, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, from Hotel Taj Yeshwantpur. Senior Congress leaders including AICC general secretary K C Venugopal held meetings with Congress leaders during the day, as CM Kumaraswamy also joined in.

Telangana forest officer assault, C Anitha assault, Telangana officer assault case, indian express The Supreme Court. (File Photo)

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court reserved its order for July 17 on the plea moved by the rebel MLAs. Speaker K R Ramesh – at the centre of the political crisis – also sought time till July 17 to decide on the disqualification and to take a final call on the resignations of the rebel MLAs.

Responding to 15 MLAs moving the Supreme Court alleging that the Speaker delayed accepting their resignations, Speaker Ramesh Kumar said, “I am not someone who is going to challenge. I will perform my duty. I will continue to work as per the Constitution.”

July 15: Speaker slots time for confidence motion; adjourns session till July 18

B S Yeddyurappa moved a no-confidence motion saying that the coalition government was “now a minority as we have 105 MLAs in our side as they (coalition) has lesser.”

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The Speaker then announced that Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s confidence motion will take place on Thursday (18 July) at 11 am. However, BJP reiterated that they would not allow to further proceedings in the House until the motion of confidence is held at the earliest.

July 14: M T B Nagaraj takes U-turn; coalition under severe threat as he flies back to Mumbai

M T B Nagaraj, who met senior coalition leaders and promised to reconsider his resignation, took a chartered flight to Mumbai on Sunday morning. While Congress-JD(S) leaders read the situation as Nagaraj flying to pacify Sudhakar and other MLAs as promised on the night before, some photographs and TV visuals turned out to be a shocker for many. Nagaraj, the richest MLA in Karnataka, was seen boarding the flight with Karnataka BJP president BS Yeddyurappa’s personal assistant Santosh and BJP MLA R Ashok.

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July 13: MTB Nagaraj holds meeting with senior Congress leader

The senior Congress leadership reached out to two of its rebels, M T B Nagaraj and K Sudhakar, in an effort to convince them to return to the Assembly. Nagaraj, who belongs to the Siddaramaiah camp in the Congress, was taken to Siddaramaiah by senior leader D K Shivakumar to convince him to return to the party. Later during the night, Nagaraj admitted that he would “reconsider” his resignation but would take a final call only after meeting Chikkaballapura MLA K Sudhakar, with whom he tendered resignation. Nagaraj was also asked to convince and bring back Sudhakar and consequently other rebel MLAs as well, camping in Mumbai. Senior leaders including D K Shivakumar and CLP leader Siddaramiah, along with CM Kumaraswamy shared hopes of Nagaraj playing the pacifier’s role perfectly.

Congress MLA M T B Nagaraj (centre) with CLP leader Siddarmaiah and Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy. (Photo: ANI)

July 12: Kumaraswamy seeks confidence motion as Monsoon session begins

As the Monsoon session began, all eyes were on the rebel MLAs if they would attend the Assembly. However, in a twist of events, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said he enjoyed the confidence of the house, he had the numbers and would like to seek a trust vote during this session. Reacting to this, Speaker Ramesh Kumar said, “The chief minister has spoken his mind that he would not cling to power amid the confusion. He said he will seek the trust of the House,” the Speaker told reporters here. “Whenever he tells me that he wants to move the trust motion, the very next day I will put it in the business of the day,” he added.

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July 11: SC hears MLAs’ plea; directs them to meet Speaker

The Supreme Court, hearing the petition filed by ten Congress-JD(S) MLAs, directed them to appear before the Assembly Speaker at 6 pm. The court added that the Speaker should take a decision on their resignation applications today itself. A bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose also directed the top cops in Karnataka to provide protection to the MLAs. The MLAs flew from Mumbai to Bangalore, again in a chartered flight, and met the Speaker submitting fresh resignations. Speaker Ramesh Kumar responded later during the evening that he would meet the legislators individually from the next day to scrutinise their resignations.

Rebel MLAs Vishwanath, Munirathna, Mahesh Kumathalli, Pratap Gowda arrive to meet the Speaker, at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, on July 11

Meanwhile, the ruling coalition issued a whip to its MLAs asking them to be present in the assembly for the monsoon session scheduled to begin from July 12.

July 10: D K S and JD(S) MLAs fly to Mumbai to pacify MLAs; denied permission, sent back; 2 more Cong MLAs resign

A delegation of coalition MLAs, led by Congress troubleshooter D K Shivakumar, flew to Mumbai in a bid to pacify the rebel MLAs camping there. However, the delegation was denied entry to the hotel after the rebel MLAs wrote to the Mumbai police seeking protection as they alleged that they would be threatened if the leaders from Karnataka were allowed to meet them. After 10 hours of high drama outside the hotel at Mumbai, Shivakumar, Higher Education Minister G T Devegowda and two others were detained after prohibitory orders were clamped in the area. Shivakumar responded he was being “forcibly deported” to Bengaluru and expressed hopes that the MLAs would return soon.

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Meanwhile, back in Bangalore, two more Congress MLAs submitted their resignations to the speaker citing “frequent interference in (their) constituencies by CM Kumaraswamy and PWD minister H D Revanna.

As many as 10 MLAs in Mumbai moved the Supreme Court claiming Speaker Kumar was “deliberately delaying” the process of accepting their resignations. The SC bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi assured senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi that their petition would be listed for an urgent hearing on July 11.

July 9: Roshan Baig resigns; Speaker finds fault with 8 resignations

Adding himself to the list of disgruntled MLAs resigning from the post, senior Congress leader R Roshan Baig submitted his resignation letter to the Assembly speaker in Vidhana Soudha. “As of today, I am in the Congress party. I have not resigned from the party. I will be in Bengaluru and have no plans to fly to Mumbai or Goa. I will continue to fulfill my duties as the (Karnataka State) Haj Committee Chairman,” he said, denying allegations of him joining the BJP.

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July 8: 2 Independent MLAs, also newly sworn-in ministers, tender resignations

In another major setback to the Karnataka Congress-JDS coalition government, independent MLAs and minsters H Nagesh and R Shankar tendered resignations in the span of six hours. The newly inducted ministers who were sworn into the Kumaraswamy-led cabinet on June 14 chose to withdraw their support to the government and joined the other 11 rebel MLAs camping in Mumbai.

Cong-JD(S) looks to upset BJP gameplan in Karnataka, inducts Independents Independent MLAs R Shankar (extreme left) and H Nagesh (extreme right) at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru after their swearing-in ceremony as cabinet ministers on June 14, 2019. (PTI Photo)

July 7: CM Kumaraswamy returns to Bengaluru

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy cut short his visit and returned to Bangalore in a chartered flight from the US. He held meetings with JD(S) and Congress leaders discussing ways to bring back the rebel MLAs camping in Mumbai.

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July 6: 11 MLAs submit resignations; Ramalinga Reddy most senior among them

11 legislators, eight from Congress and three from JD(S), submitted their resignations at the Speaker’s office. This is when the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka seemed to be hurtling towards a possible collapse.

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The MLAs who tendered resignations included Ramalinga Reddy (BTM Layout), BC Patil (Hirekerur), Prathapgouda Patil (Maski), Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapur), Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), ST Somashekhar (Yeshwanthpur), Byrati Basavaraj (KR Puram), and N Munirathna (Rajarajeshwari Nagar) from the Congress. From the JD(S) side, former party president H Vishwanath (Hunsur), Narayana Gowda (Krishnarajpet), and K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout) submitted their resignations.

July 1 – Congress MLAs Anand Singh, Ramesh Jarkiholi resigns

Congress MLAs Anand Singh and Ramesh Jarkiholi were the first to resign on July 1. The former, a legislator from Vijayanagar (Ballari), claimed to have submitted his resignation to the Speaker Ramesh Kumar who denied receiving the same. However, Singh met Governor Vajubhai Vala and later submitted his resignation. The much-anticipated resignation of Gokak (Belagavi) MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi was also reported on the same day but the Speaker said neither he nor his office was in receipt of his resignation letter, which Jarkiholi has claimed he had sent through fax. “We are not a postal department”, the Speaker reacted then.

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The resignations, incidentally, took place when Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was on a semi-private visit to the US. Reacting to the same, Kumaraswamy then wrote on Twitter, “I am watching all the developments from here. BJP is daydreaming to destabilise the government.”

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