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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Must vote on trust motion today, says Governor in new deadline for HD Kumaraswamy

Karnataka Assembly floor test: The trust vote is necessitated by mass resignation of 16 legislators earlier this month that plunged the HD Kumaraswamy-led government into deep turmoil and it has been lurching from one crisis to another since then.

india Updated: Jul 19, 2019 16:09 IST
Vikram Gopal
Vikram Gopal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy during the assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, Thursday, July 18, 2019.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy during the assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, Thursday, July 18, 2019. (PTI photo)
         

Governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday set a new deadline for Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy to prove majority in the assembly. This followed a day of fast–paced developments where the Assembly missed the 1.30 deadline set by the governor, who shot off a report on political developments to the Centre soon after.

“Such long-drawn proceedings on the question of floor test do not reflect well… when the allegations of horse trading are widely made… its is constitutionally imperative that the floor test be completed without any delay and today itself,” the Governor wrote in his letter

Vala added if needed the session could be extended but the floor test procedure must be completed ‘by the end of the day today’.

In another development, Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao moved the Supreme Court seeking intervention claiming that the top court’s Wednesday order violated the party’s right to issue whip to its MLAs for trust vote.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday ruled that the legislators could not be compelled to attend the session as also the Speaker could not be forced to take a hasty decision on rebel MLAs’ resignation or disqualification.

On Friday, the House was adjourned till 3pm even as the BJP pressed for division and coalition for discussion. The voting for the floor test was delayed by Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar till the discussion in the assembly ends.

Follow LIVE updates on Karnataka political developments here.

Speaker Ramesh Kumar said that unless the discussion is complete, the opposition cannot press for the division. He said that whether or not the Governor’s order has to be followed, “it has to be decided by the chief minister because the letter was sent to him, so he has to decide.”

The Congress-Janata Dal(Secular) coalition said it was bound to follow the Speaker and told the assembly that the Governor could not interfere in the proceedings of the legislature.

“The (trust vote) motion is the property of the House... The governor cannot dictate the proceedings of the house,” Karnataka minister Krishna Byregowda told the state assembly shortly after chief minister Kumaraswamy red-flagged the governor’s directive.

Kumaraswamy pointed to the message that he had received from the governor last evening and asked Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to take a call. For effect, Kumaraswamy recalled that the Supreme Court’s interim ruling on the rebel MLAs did underline that the speaker would function unfettered.

“You, Speaker sir, must decide if the governor has such powers to direct us on a matter that is already in the House... Matters (trust vote) need to be discussed,” Kumaraswamy said shortly before 1.30pm.

Earlier, as HD Kumaraswamy resumed the debate on the trust motion, he alleged that the BJP was trying to topple his government adding, “the seat isn’t important for me”.

“I’ll see how long you (BJP) will last here after this effort you’ve put into coming to power,” the beleaguered chief minister said.

 Also watch | BS Yeddyurappa sleeps at Vidhana Soudha following overnight protest

Governor Vala had sent a letter, his second on the trust vote, to Kumaraswamy on Thursday setting a 1.30 pm deadline after high drama in the House on Thursday.

“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 wrote in the letter.

Vala wrote the letter after the state assembly, following a day of chaotic proceedings and sloganeering, was adjourned until Friday without voting on the motion of confidence introduced by HD Kumaraswamy.

The trust vote is necessitated by the mass resignation of 16 legislators earlier this month that plunged the HD Kumaraswamy-led government into deep turmoil and it has been lurching from one crisis to another since then.

Twenty 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 several adjournments amid pandemonium.

Overnight protest

After the assembly was finally adjourned for the day, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided to stage an all-night sit-in protest in the assembly against the delayed trial of strength and plans to move the Supreme Court on Friday to ensure the motion is put to vote without delay.

“We will stay until the trust vote is decided,” BJP leader and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said.

“This government has lost the majority. They tried to drag on the issue and tried to provoke us but we acted with patience. We will continue to press for a trust vote on the motion. We will stage night-long dharna in the House,” Yeddyurappa told reporters.

Yeddyurappa also said that the Congress-JDS government was not ready for trust vote as the chief minister does not have the confidence of the people as well as the assembly.

The senior BJP leader slept on the green floor of the House along with his party MLAs. Many BJP MLAs were seen sleeping in the Well of the House and on the passage leading to the Well after a dinner of ‘masala dosa’ and curd rice in the assembly lounges.

As many of them didn’t have pillows and bedsheets, some rebels bought them from nearby shops to sleep on the floor.

“We will not budge from the assembly till the confidence motion is put to vote for the floor test to prove the ruling allies have the majority of the House,” a BJP lawmaker told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Some of the legislators watched a movie on TV sets in the lobby and others were seen in discussions.

On Friday morning, Karnataka BJP legislators were seen taking a morning walk inside the state assembly on Friday morning.

Some of the legislators, who were part of the unprecedented overnight ‘dharna’ at the Vidhana Soudha over their demand of floor test, took a stroll around the assembly house after waking up early in the morning.

The 15-month-old Congress-JD(S) government slumped into a minority earlier this month following the resignation of the dissident legislators, including 13 Congress and three JD(S) MLAs have resigned.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Jul 19, 2019 09:51 IST

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