A day after Supreme Court set aside disqualification of rebel Karnataka MLAs, a fresh battle began in the BJP ruled southern state on Saturday with Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa seeking to call a 10-day emergency assembly session from May 16.
The BJP claims that session is convened to clear 2011-2012 budget presented by Yeddyurappa in last meeting.
But, opposition Congress and JD(S) see it as a ploy to neutralise opposition numbers by engineering action against their 15 legislators accused of unruly behaviour inside the assembly in October 2010.
Reacting to the apex court observation, Yeddyurappa said, “we will obey the order of the Supreme Court. The MLAs have been asked to attend the Budget Session of the state legislature commencing on Monday and they would continue as BJP members from this moment.”
On the other hand governor HR Bharadwaj said, “I do not have a copy of the judgment. I will form my opinion when I see it.” He is expected to return to Bangalore from Delhi on May 16.
Raising questions on BJP’s decision to call the hurried session, JD(S) Chief HD Deva Gowda said “timing of the session proves that BJP has malafide intentions of getting 15 opposition MLAs disqualified based on the report submitted by Appachuchu Ranjan Committee.”
The committee was formed to study the conduct of the lawmakers during a chaotic trust vote session on October 11. The committee had recommended action against the MLAs and speaker KG Bopaiah was yet to give his verdict.
Bopaiah was also withholding his decision on punitive action recommended by another committee against 9 opposition MLAs for improper behavior during his appointment in July 2010.
Excluding the 11 party lawmakers whose membership was restored Friday, the BJP has 109 members in the 225-member assembly (including one nominated) and enjoys the support of one independent.
The Congress has 71 members and the Janata Dal-Secular 26. One seat is vacant.
The Supreme Court had set aside disqualification of 11 BJP and five independent MLAs, prompting Leader of Opposition and Congress legislator Siddaramaiah to seek resignation of Bopaiah and Yeddyurappa on moral grounds.
BJP sources said that efforts were on to bring back the rebel MLAs by offering them posts in state boards and corporations.
The 16 lawmakers were disqualified Oct 11, hours before Yeddyurappa was to seek confidence vote in the assembly following their withdrawal of support to him.
The political drama unfolded in Karnataka in October last year after 19 BJP MLAs submitted a memorandum to governor HR Bharadwaj opposing the leadership of Yeddyurappa.
But the Yeddyurappa government tided over the political crisis by disqualifying 11 BJP MLAs and five Independents. The Supreme Court's verdict will enthuse the Opposition to question afresh the trust vote victory and Yeddyurappa government's moral right to continue in office.