Bopaiah rejects charge that he slipped out to help the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party

Legislative Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah has rejected the charge levelled against him that he suddenly slipped out to an unknown destination to help the ruling BJP when legislators from the B.S. Yeddyurappa camp wanted to submit their resignations from the House.

Mr. Bopaiah, who returned from a pilgrimage to Nepal, told The Hindu that the charges “were baseless and far from the truth. The Nepal trip was planned long ago, and I decided to go on January 23 ahead of the legislature session. Rules do not prescribe that I have to keep my movements notified.”

“None of the legislators who 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 was away on foreign tour and as it would be difficult to issue the notification pertaining to his resignation, it would be better for him to meet him [Speaker] on January 28 or 29.”

Custodian of legislature

“As Speaker, I am also the custodian of the legislature and have to attend to the grievances, if any, of legislators, with regard 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,” he said.

Mr. Bopaiah said the agenda for the opening day (February 4) of the legislature session was ready and Governor H.R. Bhardwaj would address the joint session of the legislature. Under the rules, there could not be any other business that could be transacted on that day.

Should a political party choose to submit a motion of no-confidence against the government it could be submitted anytime although it was the prerogative of the Speaker to assign the date and time for the commencement of discussion on such a motion.

If need be, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who is also the leader of the ruling party and consequently the leader of the House, can also suo motu seek to move a motion of confidence in his government.

Interestingly, the Governor clarified on Friday that he did not see a need now to direct the Chief Minister seek a trust vote.

It should be noted 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 BJP.

A year later, the Supreme Court set aside the orders of the Speaker.

Meanwhile, with the return of the Speaker the political situation in the State is again hotting up, with the Karnataka Janata Paksha finalising a fresh strategy to give a jolt to the Shettar government on January 28.

Sources in the KJP told this correspondent 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,” they said.

As is apparent, the KJP is very guarded since many of the deadlines issued earlier fizzled out, and even on January 23 it could enlist the support of only 13 legislators, including Shobha Karandlaje and C.M. Udasi, whose resignations from the Council of Ministers have since been accepted by the Governor.

More In: Karnataka | National