The political drama in Karnataka showed no signs of easing as the Assembly was adjourned till Friday morning without taking up the confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to seal the fate of beleaguered JD(S)-Congress government.
Before the House proceedings were adjourned amid ruckus between ruling and opposition members, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa announced his party members would sit on a dharna overnight and even till the time the trust vote was decided. The floor test is now likely to be taken up tomorrow when the House reconvenes at 11 am.
The ruling JDS-Congress government remains on edge ever since 16 lawmakers resigned, while independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government.
Here’s all that happened in the Karnataka Assembly today
BJP’s overnight dharna
Upset by the adjournment, the BJP has decided to stay put in the Assembly till the trust vote is taken up. “There has been a breach of the constitutional framework. To protest against this, we will sleep here itself,” Yeddyurappa announced in the Assembly. BJP leaders said they were mulling moving the Supreme Court in the light of Thursday’s developments, news agency ANI reported. Follow Karnataka floor test LIVE
Uproar over Governor Vajubhai Vala’s letter to Speaker
Governor Vajubai Vala, who received a memorandum from a BJP delegation on the delay in the floor test, urged the Speaker to consider a vote by the end of the day. He also sent a special officer to overlook the proceedings of the House. The Congress lawmakers objected to the interference of the Governor in the proceedings of the House.
After Speaker, Guv writes a letter to CM Kumaraswamy
After Speaker adjourned the Assembly, Governor Vajubhai Vala has written a letter to Chief Minister Kumaraswamy asking him to prove his majority by 1.30 pm tomorrow.
Speaker K R Ramesh sought time to seek legal advice on the issue of whip imposed by Congress and JD(S) to rebel MLAs. In the light of the Supreme Court order issued on July 17, which said that the dissenting MLAs cannot be compelled to attend the trust vote, the Speaker consulted the state advocate general if the whip issued to the MLAs will be valid or not.
On being asked to clarify the apex court’s order on whips, Speaker Kumar said he would not restrain parties from “exercising any authority”. “I am worried because I am a respondent and I am the one who will have to make a decision on the whip violation,” the Speaker said.
The Speaker sought time to obtain legal advice after Congress leader Siddaramaiah moved a point of order saying powers of political parties to control their legislators— as provided by the 10th Schedule of the constitution (anti-defection law)— would be affected if the SC order is interpreted as barring issuance of the whip to the 15 rebel MLAs.
The case of ‘abducted’ Congress MLA Shreemant Patil
The House, which barely focussed on the debate on the motion, saw three adjournments, war of words and repeated sloganeering by both the opposition as well as the ruling coalition. Much of the debate was focused on Congress MLA Shrimant Patil.
Patil, who slipped away from a Bengaluru resort to Mumbai, is admitted in a hospital in the city following complains of chest pain. The Congress has, however, alleged that Patil has been “abducted” by the BJP and “held without (his) consent.” At one point, Congress members carrying pictures of Patil rushed towards the well of the House shouting slogans “Down Down BJP” and “down down operation Kamala (lotus).” Explained: What’s a ‘whip’, and what does it do?
The party also showed copies of Patil’s flight ticket that showed that the Congress MLA was accompanied by a BJP leader. “Our MLAs are being poached by the BJP. BJP is directly involved in poaching our legislators,” Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said.
The Speaker ordered Home Minister M.B. Patil to probe the matter and submit a report by tomorrow morning. The BJP, however, denied any role in Patil’s absence and accused Congress of using tactics to delay the trust vote.
“I will return to Bengaluru once I recover,” Patil said, speaking after being transferred from a private hospital where he was admitted first, to a public hospital in south Mumbai. “I went to Chennai for some personal work and felt chest pain, so I visited a hospital and on medical advice, I came to Mumbai and got myself admitted here,” he told news agency PTI.
As many as 20 lawmakers did not turn up in the Assembly, including 17 from the ruling coalition, of whom 12 are camping in a hotel in Mumbai. Adding to the woes of Kumaraswamy government, BSP MLA Mahesh, on whose support the coalition was counting, also did not show up.
Kumaraswamy taunts BJP over floor test
Seeking the trust vote, Kumaraswamy said the rebel MLAs had cast doubts about the coalition government across the country and “we have to tell the truth.” “The entire nation is watching the developments unfolding in Karnataka,” he said.
On Yeddyurappa asking the vote to be completed in a day, the CM took a jibe against him, saying, “The Leader of Opposition seems to be in a hurry.”
A total of 16 MLAs—13 Congress and three JDS— have resigned since July 6, technically reducing the numbers of the coalition from 117 to 101 compared to the BJP’s 105 in the 224-member House where the halfway mark is 113.