Expect Fireworks in Karnataka Assembly; Speaker Could Delay Voting

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HDK To Face Crucial Trust Vote Today
K.R. Ramesh Kumar, Speaker

Citing unruly behaviour of MLAs, Karnataka Speaker could postpone Trust Vote

Bengaluru: When the Karnataka Assembly meets today (Thursday), expect noise and a lot of political fireworks in the House. Every move by Speaker KR  Ramesh Kumar will be keenly watched and one controversial ruling is likely to generate pandemonium. This is what the Congress and JD(S) want.

The Speaker may then either adjourn the Assembly for the day or delay the voting process.

The view in the BJP camp was that delaying tactics will not help the Congress-JD(S) coalition as the rebels have made up their minds not to vote for the state government. There was also clarity that BJP will stake claim once the coalition is voted out — a result the party feels is inescapable.

The coalition parties may also resort to delaying process in order to buy time. This time could be used to get the rebel MLAs back. Indications are that JD(S)- Congress will request the Speaker to allow all members who want to speak on the motion to ensure the debate spills over to Friday. The weekend gap will give coalition partners time to work on the rebels.

The BJP plans to counter such a move by insisting the debate and voting concludes on the same day.

Karnataka_BJP_Yeddyurappa

There was some cheer in the Congress camp as Reddy’s return propped up the party number to 68. Sources said the former minister had spoken to speaker KR Ramesh Kumar over phone and communicated to him his decision to withdraw the resignation. “I will continue in Congress and withdraw my resignation considering that several leaders visited my residence and prevailed upon me to do so,” Reddy said.

Despite, the JD(S) whip notwithstanding, the rebels released a video saying they were firm in their decision not to attend the assembly proceedings. Amid speculation that the JD(S) rebels would be disqualified if they stayed away, the speaker said the issue of party whips and disqualification would be dealt with by the apex court later.

Wednesday’s verdict, however, sent the parties into a tizzy. There was a beeline at Kumar’s office at Vidhana Soudha as Congress and JD(S) leaders arrived to seek his opinion. CM Kumaraswamy, his brother PWD minister HD Revanna, Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah, water resources minister DK Shivakumar, RDPR minister Krishna Byregowda and others urged the speaker to invoke the disqualification rule against the rebel legislators, barring Reddy, should they skip the House proceedings.

“We sought clarity on two grounds… whether the 15 rebels can remain outside the assembly without the permission of the House, and secondly, whether the order suppressed the political parties’ rights to invoke the whip on its MLAs, including the 15 rebels,” said Byregowda, emerging from the meeting. He said the speaker confirmed that the rebels must seek the permission of the House to remain outside. “On the second issue, the speaker has advised political parties to seek legal opinion on whether the whip can be applicable on the rebels as it is between the political party and its MLAs.”

“The SC has nowhere said political parties cannot issue a whip,” former Congress MP Ugrappa said, maintaining that it was the right of political parties to do so. “The order that no MLA is forced to attend the House proceedings is a direction to the speaker and not to political parties. So, rebel MLAs have to obey the whip.”

BJP, on the other hand, said the whip would not apply. “Whatever may be the stand of political parties, the SC has given 15 rebels the freedom to attend or not to attend the House,” BJP leader S Suresh Kumar said.