Trust vote: K’taka Assembly adjourned; BJP MLAs to stay put overnight

BENGALURU: Marked by high drama, the Karnataka assembly was adjourned till Friday after it took up the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to decide the fate of the Congress-JDS government that has been facing a rebellion by a section of its MLAs threatening its survival.

Trust vote: K’taka Assembly adjourned; BJP MLAs to stay put overnight

Karnataka Ministers trying to pacify BJP MLAs in the Assembly on Thursday. Photo credit: Twitter

rchopra@tribunemail.com

Bengaluru, July 18 

Marked by high drama, the Karnataka assembly was adjourned till Friday after it took up the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to decide the fate of the Congress-JDS government that is facing a rebellion by a section of its MLAs threatening its survival.

Late evening, Governor Vajubhai Vala asked Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly before 1.30 pm on Friday. 

The drama unfolded right from the word go as, facing truncated strength caused by the en masse resignation of 16 ruling coalition MLAs, Kumaraswamy moved a one-line motion, saying the House expressed confidence in the 14-month old ministry headed by him.

Twenty lawmakers did not turn up 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.

The House that barely focussed on the debate on the motion saw three adjournments, acrimony and repeated disruptions by belligerent slogan shouting Congress members before the proceedings were wound up for the day.

Before it was adjourned, BJP leader B S Yeddyurappa declared his party members would stay put in the House itself overnight and even till the time the trust vote was decided.

“We will stay until the trust vote is decided,” Yeddyurappa said after the BJP, exasperated over the delay in taking up the voting, also rushed a delegation to Governor Vajubhai Vala to ask Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to conclude the trust vote process by the end of the day itself.

Acting swiftly, Vala asked the speaker to complete the process of vote of confidence moved by the end of the day.

BJP leaders said they were mulling moving the Supreme Court in the light of Thursday’s developments.

Adding to the worries of the ruling coalition, another Congress MLA Shreemant Patil was not seen in the House, in the midst of reports he has been admitted in a Mumbai hospital.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that it was the BJP which brought the MLA, Shreemant Patil, here in its attempt to topple the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka.

Police were not allowing anyone to meet Patil, Kharge claimed.

"The MLA has come here, complaining of pain in the heart. There are many heart specialists in Karnataka, where free treatment is possible. Karnataka has a hospital which is the best after AIIMS (in Delhi). But he (Patil) has come to a Mumbai hospital here ignoring that Karnataka hospital," Kharge told Congress workers ollowing appointment of Balasaheb Thorat as Maharashtra unit chief. 

"Who has brought him here? These things show Modi sahab, Shah sahab trying to bring dictatorship here replacing democracy and Fadnavis sahab is helping them," Kharge alleged.

At one point, Congress members carrying pictures of Patil rushed towards the well of the House shouting slogans “Down Down BJP” and “down down operation Kamala (lotus)” to bring down the government.

BSP MLA Mahesh, on whose support the coalition was counting, also did not show up, amid reports he was keeping away as he has not received any directions from the party leader Mayawati on the stand to be taken on the trust vote.

Seeking the trust vote, Kumaraswamy said the rebel MLAs had cast doubts about the coalition government across the country and “we have to tell the truth.”

As the CM sought the trust vote, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah pressed for deferring the confidence motion till the assembly speaker decided on the issue of whip in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict on the political crisis in the state.

Siddaramaiah said the 15 rebel MLAs were influenced by the apex court order that they can abstain from attending the assembly proceedings and asked speaker to give a ruling on the fate of whip issued by him as CLP leader.

“If this motion is taken up, then it will not be constitutional. It violates the constitutional provisions.

I request you to defer it. I want your ruling on this point of order,” Siddaramaiah told the Speaker.

The speaker then said he would consult the advocate general and adjourned the House for lunch.

BJP members made their displeasure known several times over alleged delay in taking up the voting on the confidence motion, leading to adjournment of the House for half an hour.

Congress and BJP MLAs, who were sequestered in resorts in the city fearing poaching by the rival camps, were herded together and brought in buses just before the assembly began.

The trial of strength is taking place a day after the Supreme Court ruled that the 15 rebel Congress-JDS MLAs “ought not” to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing session of the state Assembly.

The ruling combine’s strength is 117-- Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, and nominated 1, besides the Speaker.

With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 225-member House, including the nominated MLA and Speaker.

If the resignations of 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and 3 from JDS) are accepted, the ruling coalition’s tally will plummet to 101, (excluding the Speaker) reducing the 14 month-old Kumaraswamy government to a minority.

This is the third motion on trust vote in the assembly after the 2018 assembly polls yielded a fractured mandate with the BJP emerging as the single largest party with 104 seats but failing to mobilise numbers.

Yeddyurappa had resigned as CM after being in office for three days before facing the trust vote in May last year.

Kumaraswamy who succeeded him had won the trust vote after forming the coalition government. — PTI

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