‘But I am watching the situation minute by minute’
In a breather to the Bharatiya Janata Party government headed by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, which is in a precarious position after 13 party MLAs announced their decision to resign from the Assembly, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj on Saturday said there was no constitutional crisis in the State and that he had not asked the Chief Minister to prove his majority in the House.
The Governor said he would address a joint session of the legislature on February 4.
The budget session of the State legislature will be held from February 4 to 13, and Mr. Shettar has said he is confident about presenting the budget on February 8.
Speaking to mediapersons after his customary Republic Day address at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground here, the Governor said, as of now, there was no constitutional crisis and the BJP government had a majority even after the 13 MLAs announced their decision to quit.
“The Chief Minister has invited me to address the joint session. Like the President in Parliament, it is my [constitutional] obligation to address the joint session at the beginning of the year. I will go and address the House; conducting the budget session is the financial business of the House, and it will go on in accordance with the procedure,” the Governor said.
“But I am watching the situation minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day. I will protect the Constitution,” he said, adding, “On the day on which the government comes into minority even with one MLA less, I will issue notice. Now 13 MLAs have resigned, but the government is still in the majority,” the Governor said.
“It is left to the Chief Minister to act in the matter of the 13 MLAs belonging to his party.” Interestingly, the Governor was addressing the media along with Mr. Shettar, who participated in the Republic Day celebrations.
Mr. Shettar called on the Governor at the Raj Bhavan on Friday and briefed him about the political developments in the State.
The Governor said, “Mr. Shettar is the leader of the BJP Legislature Party and he has to take action. I have summoned the Assembly on February 4 and I am studying the situation. I hope Karnataka will continue to function according to the Constitution..”
Asked whether he had summoned Speaker K.G. Bopaiah to Bangalore, Mr. Bhardwaj said “The Speaker’s is an independent and very high office. I cannot issue directions to the Speaker. The Speaker is independent as per provisions ingrained in the Constitution.”
The 13 MLAs loyal to Karnataka Janata Paksha chief B.S. Yeddyurappa had gone in a delegation on Wednesday to meet the Speaker to submit their resignations.
However, he had left on a trip to Nepal. The enraged MLAs then submitted copies of their resignation letters to Mr. Bhardwaj. They requested him to direct the Speaker to rush back to Bangalore to accept their resignations.