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Wrangles, obituaries delay trust vote in Karnataka

A motion seeking vote of confidence is to be presented by Chief Minister today.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 16:49 IST

Procedural wrangles and lengthy obituaries to departed leaders caused inordinate delay on Friday to the much-awaited vote of confidence by Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh in the legislative assembly.

Though the assembly was to begin at 10 am for taking up the trust vote, the session began an hour later, as the speaker was huddled with legal experts on the status of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) rebel leader HD Kumaraswamy, who was elected the JD-S legislature party leader by 45 rebel legislators in place of MP Prakash, senior party leader and deputy chief minister.

On Jan 18, Kumaraswamy had walked out of the JD-S with 46 legislators and staked claim to form a new government with the backing of 79 members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

When the session began around 11.10 am, noisy protests and acrimonious scenes over the presence of two observers from the governor's office disrupted the proceedings. Members cutting across party lines petitioned the speaker to order the observers to leave, saying they had no locus standi to witness the proceedings.

Even before the speaker gave a ruling, the two observers made a quick exit to enable the house take up its business.

Since the assembly was meeting a week after it was adjourned Jan 19 following the governor's address, the speaker took up obituary references to about 24 leaders, including former president KR Narayanan and union power minister PM Sayeed, who passed away during the intervening period.

After paying homage to the departed leaders, the speaker allowed the members to express condolences. With several Congress members wanting to speak, followed by independents and others, the trust vote was further delayed, causing anxiety to the JD-S rebel and BJP members.

In the 224-member assembly, the BJP has 79 legislators, Congress 64, JD-S 56, independents 13, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) five, All India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) two and the remaining five are with the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Republican Party of India and the three regional parties.

According to the legislative secretariat, voting on the motion of confidence is likely to be delayed till well past midnight as over 100 members have sought the chair's permission to speak on the trust vote.

Karnataka Governor TN Chaturvedi had on Jan 19 given the chief minister a week till Jan 27 to prove that his beleaguered coalition still commands majority support.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 14:51 IST