Speaker K.G. Bopaiah on Tuesday accepted the resignations of 12 of the 13 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs owing allegiance to B.S. Yeddyurappa, former Chief Minister and Karnataka Janata Paksha president, after nearly nine hours of arguments and protest by the rebels

Speaker K.G. Bopaiah on Tuesday accepted the resignations of 12 of the 13 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs owing allegiance to B.S. Yeddyurappa, former Chief Minister and Karnataka Janata Paksha president, after nearly nine hours of arguments and protest by the rebels who took exception to the Speaker trying to put off the decision on their resignations on technical grounds. The resignation of Vittal Katakdonda is yet to be accepted because of certain procedural lapses.

Despite 12 MLAs resigning, the BJP government is safe and its stability will be affected only if five more MLAs quit. With these resignations, the effective strength of the Assembly has been reduced to 211 and that of the BJP to 108, including the Speaker, a nominated member, and an Independent who is part of the Ministry.

The 13 rebels who went to the Speaker’s office in the morning to submit their resignations were bewildered when Mr. Bopaiah pointed out that 11 of them had been named in a petition filed by two BJP MLAs seeking their disqualification on the charge of anti-party activities. The Speaker sought to put their resignations on hold as the petitioners had requested that the resignations not be accepted till their petition was disposed of.

Of the two MLAs whose names did not figure in the petition, the Speaker accepted the resignation of Challakere MLA Thippeswamy as the other’s resignation was reportedly not in order.

The Speaker sought advice from the Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha through fax on whether to accept the resignations when the disqualification petition was still pending. But there was no immediate reply from that end.

This irritated the rebels staged a protest demanding that the Speaker immediately accept their resignations. The rebels, who gathered in the Speaker’s chamber, refused to go out till he acted on their resignations. Pressure started building on the Speaker with Opposition parties and some legal experts, including a former Speaker, criticised the delay.

Finally, the Speaker is learnt to have relented and accepted their resignations after consulting legal experts and the Lok Sabha Secretary-General.

Earlier, the Speaker called the rebel MLAs individually into his chamber and consultations with them to know if they were being pressured to quit. Interestingly, Tarikere MLA Suresh, who had come with a resignation letter on January 23, was missing on Tuesday while the former Minister Sunil Valyapure was a new addition to the group wanting to resign. The 12 MLAs who quit their Assembly seats will give up their BJP membership on Wednesday to formally join the KJP.

The MLAs who submitted their resignations to the Speaker are Shobha Karandlaje (Yeshwanthpur), C.M. Udasi (Hanagal), Basavaraj Patil Attur (Basavakalyan), H. Halappa (Sorab), Nehru Olekar (Haveri), Suresh Gowda Patil (Byadagi), G. Shivanna (Ranebennur), Chikkanagoudar (Kundagol), Sunil Valyapure (Chincholi), B.P. Harish (Harihar), M. Chandrappa (Holalkere) and Thippeswamy (Challakere).