The rebel BJP legislators in Karnataka, who have challenged their disqualification from the Assembly, suffered a setback on Wednesday, with the Karnataka High Court rejecting their request to summon the records of their disqualification proceedings from the office of Speaker K.G. Bopaiah.
Meanwhile, political defections are expected to receive a new thrust with all the main parties — the Congress, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party — working on ways to add to their strength in the Assembly.
Reports say that at least two Congress legislators belonging to Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa's community could extend support to the BJP. One Congress MLA resigned from the Assembly on Tuesday.
Justice V.G. Sabhahit, the third judge hearing the petitions filed by the 11 BJP rebel legislators after a Division Bench delivered a split verdict on October 18, orally rejected their request to summon the records.
The advocate appearing for seven of them orally asked the court to call for the records. “The records are important as they will show clear bias of the Chief Minister against the petitioners.”
Justice Sabhahit said the records could not be summoned as no such plea was made when the case was before the Division Bench. “I have been asked to give a judgment on a point of reference: the action of the Speaker in disqualifying the legislators. I will not consider any other matter.”
The judge told counsel that if he still “insisted on seeking for the records, he has to file an application. Let the other side file its objections. I will pass orders.” When counsel pointed out that he was only making an oral plea, the judge said: “This is orally rejected.”
Speaking to journalists at his residence on Wednesday, Mr. Yeddyurappa accused the Congress and the JD(S) of “relentlessly” trying to destabilise his government. He said he planned to order a judicial inquiry into the land in possession of the leaders of the two parties.
“Half of the total extent of land available around Bangalore is owned by the former Chief Minister, H.D. Kumaraswamy, and State Congress chief R.V. Deshpande,” he said.
BJP workers stage dharna
BJP members on Wednesday staged a dharna in front of the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah. Their action, they said, was in protest against Congress leaders trying to show the Chief Minister in poor light by staging a protest in front of his residence on Tuesday night after a Congress MLA resigned from the Assembly.