I resign, says Karnataka Speaker with a parting shot, and an apology
Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Monday announced his decision to step down moments after the state’s freshly-minted Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa cleared the trust vote by a voice vote.
Kumar’s announcement comes a day after he disqualified 14 more lawmakers from the assembly on petitions filed by the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular. In all, Ramesh Kumar has disqualified 17 rebel lawmakers over the last week who had attempted to exit the assembly which led to the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy government.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s order to disqualify the 14 lawmakers on a Sunday was widely seen as an effort to pre-empt the BJP which was reported to be planning to move a motion for the speaker’s removal. This would have prevented the speaker from acting on the disqualification petitions.
Watch | Yediyurappa wins trust vote, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar resigns
““If there were any mistakes from my side please forgive me. I think this is the biggest achievement in my life. With this I tender my resignation to this post,” the Speaker told the assembly as he handed over his resignation letter to the Deputy Speaker Krishna Reddy.
Kumar, who was frequently attacked by the BJP which alleged he was siding with the ruling coalition government, said he had worked according to his “conscience” and in accordance with the Constitution.
“I have upheld the dignity of office to the best of my ability,” he added.
But before he wrapped up his stint as the presiding officer of the assembly, Ramesh Kumar also spoke at some length about his selection as the speaker, the role of money power in politics, corruption and an oblique dig at the Yediyurappa who had just won the floor test with 105 legislators.
“Coming to power using dubious means is not good for the Constitution,” he said, an oblique reference to the defection of 17 lawmakers from the Congress-JDS team that lost power recently. Their exit had reduced the Kumaraswamy to a minority in the assembly.
Congress and JDS leaders accuse the BJP of engineering their string of defections, a charge the ruling party in Delhi and Karnataka denies.
Ramesh Kumar, who disqualified 17 lawmakers, said he wasn’t “egotistical enough” to think that he had created but pitched for a relook at the 10th Schedule of the Constitution that deals with anti-defection provisions and the election law.
“The 10th Schedule needs a total relook. This house has the right to request a relook not to change it,” he said, holding election as the root cause of corruption in the country.
Kumar also called upon the Election Commission to get a thorough probe done in assets declared by legislators.
“In our election affidavits when we claim that we have crores of rupees, the Election Commission should immediately send it to the ED to see where this money has come from… Let’s not mislead the people,” he said.
“I want to say to the leaders that you might be good but when you come to power, many unscrupulous elements join you. They are not your supporters, they only support power,” he added.