Karnataka Speaker K.G. Bopaiah returned to Bangalore on Saturday after a two-day pilgrimage to Nepal. Speaking to The Hindu after his arrival, he said the charges levelled against him “are baseless and far from the truth.”

“I had decided on the Nepal trip a long time ago and decided to go on January 23 ahead of the legislature session. The rules do not prescribe that I have to keep my movements notified,” he said adding, “none of the legislators who have sought to resign, barring the former Minister for Public Works, C.M.Udasi, had sought an appointment.”

“I told Mr Udasi that since the Secretary of the Legislative Assembly is away on a foreign tour and since it would be difficult to issue the notification pertaining to his resignation, it would be better for him to meet him (Secretary) on January 28 or 29,” Mr. Bopaiah said.

“As the Speaker, I am also the custodian of the Legislature and have to attend to the grievances of the Legislators, if any, with reference to their constituencies. Should any legislator seek to resign, it is his or her choice and I will accept such a letter, if it conforms to the given rules and I am convinced as well”.

Mr. Bopaiah said the agenda for the opening day of the coming legislature session (February 4) was ready and the Governor, H.R.Bharadwaj would present his address to a joint session of the legislature on that day. Under the rules there cannot be any other business that can be transacted on that day.

'20 legilators to quit'

Meanwhile, sources in B.S. Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) told The Hindu that at least 20 legislators, including some ministers would resign from the Assembly on January 28. “Nothing more can be said at the present juncture,” sources added. As is apparent, the KJP was very guarded since many earlier deadlines have fizzled out and even on January 23 it could enlist the support of only 13 legislators, including two ministers — Shobha Karandlaje and C.M. Udasi — whose resignation from the council of ministers has since been accepted by the Governor H.R.Bhardwaj.

Constitutionally, should a political party choose to submit a Motion of No-Confidence against the Government it can always be submitted anytime although it is the prerogative of the Speaker to assign the date and time for the commencement for a discussion on such a motion.

If need be, the Chief Minister, who is also the Leader of the ruling party and consequently the Leader of the House can also suo moto seek to move a Motion of Confidence in his Government. Interestingly, the Governor has clarified on Friday that he does not a need to direct the Chief Minister to seek a trust vote at the present juncture .

It may be recalled that the Speaker had attracted criticism after he disqualified 16 legislators, including five independents in October 2010 at the height of dissident activity in the ruling BJP. A year later, the Supreme Court set aside the orders of the Speaker and all the disqualified legislators are back in the Legislative Assembly. The Speaker’s order enabled the then Chief Minister B.S.Yeddyurappa to win a confidence vote in a truncated house.