The ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka will face a crucial trust vote in the Assembly on Monday even as legal questions hang over participation of 13 coalition legislators whose resignations are pending acceptance by the Assembly Speaker.
The resignation of 15 coalition MLAs has reduced the strength of the H D Kumaraswamy government in the 225-member Assembly to 102 MLAs compared to the opposition BJP’s 105 MLAs plus two Independents.
Coalition leaders worked over the weekend to convince the rebel MLAs to participate in the trust vote but the 13 rebels in Mumbai sent out a video message saying they would not budge from their decision to resign and withdraw support to the coalition.
The only glimmer of hope for the coalition came from the BSP whose supremo Mayawati directed the lone BSP MLA in the assembly to support the coalition.
Explained: What’s a ‘whip’, and what does it do?
Despite their numbers not adding up to a majority, members of the coalition have insisted that the government will win the trust vote. “We are confident that we will be able to save the government,” JD(S) MLA D C Gowrishankar said.
BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa said, “Kumaraswamy has been saying he does not want to stick on to the chief minister’s chair. In the past three days, it has been apparent to the people of Karnataka the extent to which he is stuck to the chief minister’s chair.”
Offering to hold talks with the rebels MLAs to resolve their issues, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy on Sunday said in a statement, “My only intention of seeking time for debate on trust vote is to let the entire country know how the BJP, which talks of morality, is trying to subvert the very principles of democracy as well as Constitution.”
Kumaraswamy moved the trust vote on July 18 but the process of conducting the vote has been affected by procedural aspects of the legislature. Governor Vajubhai Vala has sent messages with deadlines to complete the trust vote but Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, who is the custodian of the Assembly, has said that legislators must be given a chance to speak on the trust vote before it is put for voting.
The trust vote process on Monday may witness lengthy speeches by coalition MLAs while the BJP has decided to refrain from speaking at length in order to ensure that the trust vote is completed by the end of the day.