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Karnataka Speaker disqualifies 14 Congress, JD(S) rebels, trust vote today

All the 17 MLAs who have been disqualified were associated with the rebellion against the Congress-JD(S) government headed by H D Kumaraswamy. They are now likely to move the Supreme Court against their disqualification.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru | Updated: July 29, 2019 6:42:45 am
Karnataka speaker disqualifies mlas, karnataka rebel mlas, karnataka government, Karnataka crisis, K R ramesh, yeddyurappa, kumaraswamy, congress jds Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in Bengaluru on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)

A day before the trust vote, Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Sunday disqualified 11 Congress and three JD(S) rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law, thus ending their hopes of being inducted into the BJP government.

Another three Congress MLAs were disqualified for anti-party activities on July 25. This effectively reduces the strength of the Assembly from 225 to 208 members (including a nominated Anglo Indian member).

The BJP, which formed a one-man government headed by B S Yediyurappa on July 26 after the Congress-JD(S) government lost the trust vote, now has a clear majority of 105 legislators, apart from the support of one Independent MLA. The Congress strength is down to 67 and the JD(S) to 34; the House also has one BSP MLA.

Yediyurappa, who was asked by Governor Vajubhai Vala to prove his majority, is expected to comfortably win the trust vote on Monday. “On Monday, 100% I will prove majority,” PTI quoted Yediyurappa as saying on Sunday.

The 11 Congress MLAs who were disqualified on Sunday are: Prathapgouda Patil, B C Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, S T Somashekhar, Byrathi Basavaraju, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, N Munirathna, K Sudhakar, M T B Nagaraj and Shrimanth Patil. The three from the JD(S) are Vishwanath A H, Narayana Gowda and K Gopalaiah.

On July 25, the Speaker had disqualified Congress MLAs Ramesh Jharkiholi, Mahesh Kumatahalli and R Shankar (an Independent who later merged with Congress).

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All the MLAS “have incurred disqualification in terms of the tenth schedule of the Constitution (anti defection law),’’ the Speaker said.

“With responsibility and fear, I have taken this decision,” PTI quoted him as saying. “The way I am being pressurised mentally as Speaker to deal with all these things, I am pushed into a sea of depression,” he said. “I have used my judicial conscience,” he said.

All the 17 MLAs who have been disqualified were associated with the rebellion against the Congress-JD(S) government headed by H D Kumaraswamy and were expecting to be inducted into the BJP cabinet. They are now likely to move the Supreme Court against their disqualification.

The disqualification bars the legislators from contesting Assembly polls for the term of the current Assembly — 46 more months, unless mid-term polls are called — and also bars them from holding constitutional posts during this period.

“This is an undemocratic act carried out by the Speaker. We will approach the Supreme Court and fight this out,’’ said Prathapgouda Patil.

A PTI report quoted JD(S) rebel Vishwanath A H as saying that the decision was “against the law”, and they would all approach the Supreme Court on Monday for redressal.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said it was “an appropriate lesson for MLAs who fell prey to the Operation Kamala tactics of the BJP and cheated the people and the party.”

“The Speaker’s decision to disqualify 14 MLAs is a victory for democracy. Governments will come and go. Positions of power are not permanent in politics. It is important to leave good examples for future generations of politicians. The Speaker’s decision today strikes a blow against opportunistic politics. I welcome it,’’ Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said.

The BJP promised assistance to the rebel MLAs in fighting their case in the courts. “The Speaker has the authority (to disqualify). The MLAs can question the decision in court. However, the Speaker should have spoken to the MLAs before deciding,’’ Union Minister and BJP leader D V Sadananada Gowda said. “The order (of the Speaker) seems to suggest that he was under pressure to make the decision,’’ he said.

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