Congress, JD(Secular) have no plan to pull down Shettar government which, they believe, will fall on its own
The Jagadish Shettar government plunged into a fresh crisis on Wednesday, when 13 legislators of the ruling BJP — including Ministers Shobha Karandlaje and C.M. Udasi, who earlier in the day quit the Cabinet) — made an attempt, futile though, to resign from the Assembly and thereafter submitted a representation to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, saying they had lost confidence in Mr. Shettar’s leadership.
However, on the day of unprecendented developments Speaker K.G. Bopaiah remained incommunicado to the legislators who wanted to submit their resignation letters. The memorandum made over to the Governor by the Karnataka Janata Party of the former Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, has triggered a major challenge to the seven-month-old Shettar government, ahead of the Assembly budget session convened for February 4.
But even if the resignations are accepted by the Speaker as and when he returns to the city, the BJP will still enjoy a wafer-thin majority.
The Governor may at best ask the Chief Minister to prove his strength on the floor of the Assembly prior to the joint session wherein he will address legislators of both Houses (the maiden session in a new calendar year).
In the 225-member Assembly, with a present strength of 223 (following the resignation of Mr. Yeddyurappa and Srinivasa Shetty), the BJP has 120 MLAs (including the Speaker, a nominated MLA, and an independent), the Congress 71, the Janata Dal (Secular) 26, apart from one member of the BSR Congress and five independents. Neither the Congress nor the JD(S) has plans to bring down the government for, they are confident that the BJP government will fall on its own given the intra-party differences.
It was action-packed drama on Wednesday, with the Speaker flying out of Bangalore though he had reportedly given appointments to the legislators concerned, saying he would be available to meet them.
Sources in the government told The Hindu that the Governor might informally ask the Speaker to return to Bangalore. The Speaker, who is elected by the Assembly, is himself a constitutional authority and custodian of the House, and is not under the jurisdiction of the Governor.
Even on his return here, the Speaker (should he remain committed to the BJP as is evident by his absence now), on receipt of the resignation letters, can still sit on them on various grounds and for an indefinite period as well (according to rules of procedure of the Assembly and the power of the Speaker enshrined in the Constitution).
The ruling party could thus technically enjoy a sizable majority till the passage of the budget to be presented on February 8.