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Karnataka: Floor test today, Congress-JD(S) hold on to MLAs

The Assembly will on Friday conduct an election to pick a new Speaker before the vote of confidence is tabled. The Congress has nominated former speaker K R Ramesh Kumar as its candidate.

Written by Johnson T A | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 25, 2018 6:54:29 am
Karnataka floor test tomorrow, uncertainty over Kumaraswamy to serve full five-year term as CM The Congress and JDS have been keeping their respective MLAs together at different locations since May 16 in order to prevent them from being poached by the BJP. (File)

The newly formed JDS-Congress coalition government in Karnataka under Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will face a trust vote on Friday to prove majority in the Karnataka Assembly. The JDS-Congress combine has 118 MLAs (JDS 37, Congress 78 and three others) in the 222-member House where 112 is a simple majority, while the BJP has 104 seats.

The Assembly will on Friday conduct an election to pick a new Speaker before the vote of confidence is tabled. The Congress has nominated former speaker K R Ramesh Kumar as its candidate, while the BJP has picked veteran legislator S Suresh Kumar.

The Congress and JD(S) have been keeping their respective MLAs together at different locations since May 16 in order to prevent them from being poached by the BJP. They participated in the oath-taking of Kumaraswamy and his Congress deputy G Parameshwara on Wednesday and returned to their resorts. Following the trust vote, the MLAs of the two parties will return to their constituencies. The JDS-Congress government replaced the BJP government of B S Yeddyurappa, which assumed office on May 17 and exited on May 19 after failing to muster the numbers for a simple majority.

The JDS-Congress coalition was forged after the Assembly polls of May 12 threw up a hung verdict. Governor Vajubhai Vala initially asked the BJP to form a government and prove its majority in 15 days. The Congress approached the Supreme Court against the Governor’s move and the apex court directed that a floor test be conducted on May 19. Yeddyurappa resigned ahead of the trust vote after sensing that his party did not have the numbers to prove its majority.

The Governor invited Kumaraswamy to form the government on May 19 after Yeddyurappa’s resignation and gave the new coalition 15 days to prove its majority. Kumaraswamy was sworn in as CM Wednesday along with Parameshwara at a ceremony attended by a galaxy of Opposition leaders.

The Congress and JDS are, meanwhile, trying to arrive at an understanding to contest polls in two remaining seats where elections were not held on May 12 — Jayanagar and R R Nagar in Bengaluru city. The two parties are trying to field joint candidates in both the constituencies. The JDS wants to field S V Ramachandra in R R Nagar and allow the Congress to field Soumya Reddy, daughter of MLA Ramalinga Reddy, in Jayanagar.

Kumaraswamy and Congress leaders have been trying to convince the Congress candidate in R R Nagar, film producer Muniratna Naidu, to step aside. Naidu has, however, expressed reluctance to do so. The Congress on Thursday also suggested that no agreement had been reached by the coalition partners on the tenure of Kumaraswamy as chief minister and whether he would make way for a Congress candidate midway through his term. “We have not discussed those modalities. We have also not decided portfolio allocations,’’ Parameshwara said.

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