‘Speaker took the decision to disqualify in a hurry’: A H Vishwanath
Karnataka assembly speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Sunday disqualified 14 more rebel lawmakers under the anti-defection law days after their resignations brought down the H D Kumaraswamy-led Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) or JD (S) government in Karnataka last week. A H Vishwanath, a former JD (S) state president and one of the disqualified lawmakers, spoke to Hindustan Times. Edited excerpts:
What are your views on the speaker’s move to disqualify you?
He has taken this decision in a hurry. He took the decision on a holiday—Sunday.
The speaker said he had to do so under special circumstances...
Of course, there are special circumstances but our only question is why take the decision on a holiday when in the past he has refused meetings on such days.
What was the speaker’s response when you asked for four weeks through your lawyers to appear before him in connection with the disqualification petition against you?
He gave us four weeks to appear before him… Whether it is quasi-judicial or regular courts across the world, the law is on the one side and the rights on the other. I know this because I am an advocate. In giving the judgment, he has bent everything. He should have understood our situation considering 16 MLAs [members of legislative assembly] resigned together. He should have looked at why we resigned. We have already spoken that there is demoniacal politics in Karnataka. A government cannot be formed for the benefit of one family. He did not take any of this into account. A judge must consider everything. Giving a verdict without considering anything and in a hurry raises the question whether this was done to please some person.
How would you respond to the speaker’s statement that he disregarded your resignations because you did not attend hearings to convince him about their genuineness?
We were present in the speaker’s office on July 11 when we went to resubmit our resignations. We sat right in front of him after we came from Mumbai. We wrote the resignation letters right in front of him. If he had any doubts, he should have asked us then and there. The format is also of just one-line resignation. In this format, there is no request to the speaker to accept the resignation. We wrote the letter in front of him and he cannot ask us about the intentions behind the decision. An elected member appears before the speaker in person and has to give the resignation in his own handwriting. What more does he want?
Will you challenge the disqualification?
We will question everything based on the law.
Will the rebels join the Bharatiya Janata Party?
At present, we have not taken any decision on this matter.
Will you contest the by-election to your seat?
I am tired of elections. This is enough. I only want to communicate to my constituents that under very extreme circumstances, with immense pain, to stop the political resolve to sell Karnataka’s polity, I resigned as MLA, without their permission. I want to ask them to forgive me.
How would you respond to the speaker’s suggestion that the rebels were involved in “horse-trading”?
It is hilarious that [former chief ministers] Siddaramaiah, Kumaraswamy and the speaker are talking about horse-trading. Do they have any respect? Has the speaker not been subject to horse-trading looking at his verdict?
When will you return to the state?
We are thinking of going to New Delhi. It might take another two days for us to return.