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Yeddyurappa’s fate as Karnataka CM to be decided in floor test today

The BJP is confident it has the numbers to win the floor test even though it has to fill a gap of eight votes to cross the majority mark in the Karnataka assembly.

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: May 19, 2018 14:39 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Bengaluru
Yeddyurappa,Karnataka assembly floor test,Karnataka
Karnataka chief ministerial BS Yeddyurappa (Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa will have to prove his majority in the Karnataka assembly on Saturday to continue as the state’s chief minister after the Supreme Court ordered a floor test to settle the political tussle that emerged from the election results.

A special session of the Karnataka assembly began with the singing of the national song, Vande Mataram. After that pro-tem Speaker KG Bopaiah welcomed and congratulated the members elected to the 15th assembly and started administering the oath to them.

Earlier, the Supreme Court, hearing Congress-JD(S) combine’s petition challenging the appointment of Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker by governor Vajubhai Vala, ordered live telecast of proceedings of the floor test.

In the assembly, Bopaiah, who stays as the pro-tem Speaker after the Congress-JD(S) combine withdrew its demand for his removal, read out the procedures to be followed during the oath-taking of the members. Yeddyurappa took the oath first, followed by Congress Legislature Party leader and his predecessor Siddaramaiah. Then the other members started taking oath in batches of five one after the other.

Floor test today

The floor test is likely by 4pm as per the Supreme Court’s Friday order that drastically reduced the 15-day window given by the governor to Yeddyurappa to prove majority.

Elections held on May 12 to 222 of the state’s 224 seats have resulted in a hung assembly, with the BJP having 104 MLAs, while the Congress won 78 seats and JD(S) 37. Polling in two seats will be held later. The Congress-JD(S) combine has claimed the support of 117 MLAs, including one each from the BSP and the KPJP, and one Independent. The JD(S)’s effective strength will be 36 at the time of voting, as its leader H D Kumaraswamy has won from two seats.

This will also reduce the strength of the House to 221 and the BJP will require 111 votes for a simple majority. At about 4pm, Yeddyurappa is expected to move the motion seeking vote of confidence, after which voting will take place.

Earlier, Congress and JD(S) MLAs who were camping at a hotel in Hyderabad, fearing alleged attempts of poaching by the BJP, came back to Bengaluru in the morning.

As per the apex court’s directions, the police have made massive security arrangements in and around the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature, for the smooth conduct of the floor test.

Security stepped up

Public entry to the Vidhana Soudha has been restricted, and officials and staff of the Secretariat are being allowed to enter the premises after thorough checks.

“Elaborate security arrangements have been made at the secretariat and the nearby legislators’ home to facilitate smooth conduct of the assembly proceedings for the floor test,” director general of police Nilamani Raju said.

Police also imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), prohibiting assembly of five or more persons 1km in and around the secretariat to maintain law and order for the day-long session.

As directed by a three-judge bench of the apex court, security has also been provided to all the legislators participating in the floor testm.

“We have deployed five deputy commissioners of police (DCPs), 20 assistant commissioners of police (ACPs), 40 inspectors and 2,000 constables around the venue to prevent any untoward incident,” additional commissioner of police BK Singh told reporters.

The police has also banned processions or rallies by the cadres and supporters of the BJP, Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in the area.

Uncertainty looms

Yeddurappa was sworn in as chief minister on May 17, two days after the results were declared and the governor accepted his claim to form government.

The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court by the Congress and the JD (S). Passing interim orders on their petition, the court on Friday directed that the floor test be conducted on Saturday.

Yeddyurappa has asserted that he has “100 per cent confidence” that he would prove his majority in the assembly.

With the BJP having only 104 MLAs, it remains to be seen how the party will rustle up the numbers and prove majority.

The Congress and the JD(S) have alleged the BJP has reached out to their MLAs to abstain from attending the House. The other plan is to ensure that at least seven MLAs cross vote in BJP’s favour.

Congress-JD(S) made the legal challenge against Bopaiah’s choice as pro-tem speaker contending that the governor’s action in appointing “a junior MLA” was “brazenly unconstitutional”.

A four-time MLA, Bopaiah was the Karnataka Assembly speaker from 2009 to 2013 and had disqualified 16 MLAs and bailed out the then Yeddyurappa government ahead of a no-confidence vote in 2010.

The Supreme Court in 2011 had quashed Bopaiah’s order disqualifying the 16 MLAs ahead of a no confidence motion which had ensured survival of the government.

First Published: May 19, 2018 08:44 IST