Ending the political uncertainty in Karnataka, the Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved imposition of President’s Rule in the state, placing the legislative assembly in suspended animation.
President Pratibha Patil signed the declaration under Article 356 hours after the Cabinet endorsement. The decision came after Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur recommended imposition of central rule following the resignation of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (Secular) on Monday, after the withdrawal of support to his 20-month-old government by ally BJP.
Thakur had left it to the Centre to decide on dissolution of the assembly or keeping it in suspended animation, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said after the Cabinet meeting.
The Cabinet voted in favour of suspended animation in the light of the Supreme Court judgment in the Bommai case that had laid down this procedure for the central government. “The President has the power only to keep the assembly in suspended animation,” he said, adding that the “Supreme Court’s judgment binds everyone”.
The President can consider dissolution of the assembly only after Parliament clears the Cabinet’s decision to impose central rule in the state. “That is the only course,” the minister said.
Governor Thakur had in his three-page report to the President and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil listed the political developments in the state, particularly the parting of ways between the JD(S) and the BJP, in support of his recommendation for Central rule.
He has requested the Centre to depute at least three advisers to help him run the administration, sources said, adding that the names are likely to be announced in a week.
With Tuesday’s development, Karnataka will witness President's Rule for the fifth time since its creation in 1956. The previous instances were in 1971, 1977, 1989 and 1990.
The first one lasted a year and was imposed when the late Veerendra Patil of the Congress was chief minister. Patil was at the receiving end again when he was eased out and President's Rule imposed for a week in October 1990.
The state witnessed central rule for more than seven months (April-November 1989) when Janata Dal chief minister SR Bommai lost majority and was dismissed from his post.
The partywise strength in the current 224-member legislative assembly is: BJP (79), Congress (66), Janata Dal-S (57), Janata Dal-U (5). Others are independents and members of smaller parties.