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‘Prima facie, you’ve lost majority’: Guv sets 1.30 pm deadline for Karnataka CM

Karnataka assembly floor test: The governor said he hadn’t intervened so far because Kumaraswamy had called the assembly session and moved the trust vote.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2019 07:53 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy with his deputy G Parameshwara during the assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy with his deputy G Parameshwara during the assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru(PTI)
         

Governor Vajubhai Vala stepped in to fast-track the trust vote in the Karnataka assembly on Thursday evening, this time with a letter to Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy setting a 1.30 pm deadline today to prove his government’s majority in the assembly.

This is the Governor’s second letter on the trust vote. His first to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar earlier on Thursday had been ignored after members of the ruling Congress-Janata Dal Secular government protested the intervention by the state’s governor in proceedings of the House.

The Governor counted the many lawmakers who had sent their resignation letters to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar over the last few weeks, calculated the depleted strength of the assembly and concluded that Kumaraswamy did not appear to have the majority any longer.

Opinion | How the BJP has become another Congress

“The fact that 15 members have met me and tendered their resignations and coupled with 2 members have withdrawn their support and other attendant circumstances do prima facie indicate that you have lost majority/confidence of the House,” Governor Vajubhai Vala told chief minister Kumaraswamy in the letter.

The governor said he hadn’t intervened so far because Kumaraswamy had called the assembly session and moved the trust vote.

“However, it has been reported to me that the proceedings of the house on 18-07-2019 for vote of confidence has been stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality. This cannot go on in a democratic set up governed by the Constitution of India,” the governor said.

Soon after Chief Minister Kumaraswamy initiated the discussion, senior Karnataka Congress leaders red-flagged the proceedings demanding that the 225-member assembly (including the nominated member) should first get a ruling from the Speaker on the Supreme Court’s order that clipped his powers to issue directions to his legislators.

The Supreme Court, which had given the Speaker a free hand to decide on the resignation letters, had also ruled that the rebel MLAs could not be compelled to attend the session. Former chief minister and Congress legislature party chief Siddaramaiah insisted that this infringed the Congress’ rights when it was not even a party to the case decided by the top court.

Also read | Karnataka Assembly adjourns without floor test, BJP plans all-night protest

The House was adjourned later in the evening by deputy speaker Krishna Reddy as Congress members persistently shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the proceedings wore on with Kumaraswamy yet to make his speech on the motion.

A total of 20 lawmakers hadn’t turned up on Thursday, including 17 from the ruling coalition, 12 of whom are corralled in a hotel in Mumbai, as the House debated in a surcharged atmosphere with two adjournments amid pandemonium.

Adding to the worries of the ruling coalition, another Congress MLA Shreemant Patil was not seen in the House amid reports that he has been admitted to a Mumbai hospital. At one point, Congress members carrying pictures of Patil trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans “Down Down BJP” and “down down operation Kamala (lotus)” -- the purported name of the BJP’s operation to bring down the government.

Also read | ‘First clarification, trust vote later’: Siddaramaiah’s twist in assembly

First Published: Jul 18, 2019 21:33 IST

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