Special Correspondent

Assembly kept in suspended animation

NEW DELHI: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday night signed an order under Article 356 (1) imposing President’s Rule in Karnataka and keeping the Legislative Assembly in “suspended animation,” Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said.

The order has been sent to the Home Ministry for issuing the proclamation.

This brought the curtains down on the battle for power between the coalition partners, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP.

Cabinet meeting

In the evening, the Union Cabinet met to approve President’s Rule as recommended by Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Monday. The Governor came to the conclusion that the government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy was reduced to a minority after the BJP withdrew from the coalition arrangement on Sunday.

Briefing reporters, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the Cabinet recommended keeping the Assembly in “suspended animation” as parliamentary approval for the imposition of President’s Rule was mandatory after the Bommai judgment.

The winter session of Parliament normally starts in the second half of November. Before the year-end, parliamentary approval is expected.

After the BJP formally withdrew support to the Kumaraswamy government on Sunday, Congress leaders met Mr. Thakur on Monday to demand the dismissal of the government and imposition of President’s Rule. That very evening, Mr. Kumaraswamy resigned, and the Governor sent a report to the Centre recommending President’s Rule.

It became clear that no stable government could be formed in the State with the Congress showing no inclination to tie up with the JD(S). The BJP (79 seats), the Congress (64) and the JD(S) with 58 seats had become antagonistic to one another.

Guard against horse-trading: Gowda

Bangalore Special Correspondent writes:

Reacting to the Centre’s decision, the former Prime Minister and JD(S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda said all related constitutional procedures should be strictly adhered to.

Mr. Gowda said that during the interim period (until Parliament approves the dissolution of the Assembly), it should be ensured that there was no “horse-trading.” The period should not be misused to enable any party to venture into forming a government.

He said: “I hope and trust that the highest constitutional values shall be maintained and the spirit of democracy kept alive. It should also be ensured that people’s mandate is obtained at the earliest possible time.”

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