Ten rebel Karnataka MLAs of Congress and JD(S) Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, alleging delay on the part of the Assembly Speaker in accepting their resignations. The matter was mentioned before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who said the court will consider listing the case tomorrow. The petition alleged that the Speaker had acted in a partisan manner and was deliberately not accepting their resignations.
Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar Tuesday rejected the resignations of nine of 14 coalition MLAs on the ground that they were not tendered in the correct format.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi who appeared for the rebel MLAs pressed for an urgent hearing saying “time is the essence” in the matter. “We will see,” the bench, which also comprised justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said.
The Speaker has fixed dates over the next six days to meet and interview the five MLAs whose resignations were found to be in order. The Speaker’s decision gives the Congress-JD(S) combine some breathing room to try and pull the government back from the brink of collapse.
Since Saturday, Karnataka has been thrown into a political crisis with 14 MLAs resigning from their positions. If the resignations were accepted by the Speaker, the alliance would have been reduced to a minority of 103 in the 224-member House, after two Independent MLAs, too, withdrew support and tendered resignations Monday.
The drama, meanwhile, shifted to Mumbai on Wednesday. Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar was stopped outside the Mumbai hotel where the rebel MLAs are camping after they approached the Mumbai Police seeking protection. In a letter, the lawmakers wrote that they felt “threatened” with the visit of the state leaders.
Amid the chants of “Shivakumar go back,” the Congress leader said, “I only have a heart that I have come to extend to my friends…politics is an art of possibility,” he said.