S. Rajendran

Confidence motion to be moved tomorrow

Whip will be binding on all party MLAs, including Siddaramaiah group Dilemma is over stand of some senior MLAs They are totally opposed to the alliance with the BJP It is feared that whip may cause serious division in the party

Bangalore: The Janata Dal (Secular) leadership is in a dilemma on whether to issue a whip to party legislators to vote in favour of the confidence motion to be tabled by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

Sources in the party told The Hindu here on Monday that the predominant view is that Mr. Kumaraswamy, who is the legislature party leader, should not take any risk and should issue a whip, which will be binding on all party legislators, including the eight-member group associated with the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The dilemma is mainly on account of having to direct those legislators who are against the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to vote in favour of the motion. The legislators, who are senior leaders of the JD(S), have already expressed their reservations over supporting the alliance with the BJP. If a whip is issued, it is likely to cause serious division in the party in the long run.

The BJP has decided to issue a whip to its legislators to vote in favour of the Government. In the 224-member Assembly, the JD(S) has a strength of 59, the BJP 79, the Congress 64 and the JD(U) five. Some independents are associated with the three major parties. In case of a division, the Government has to obtain 113 votes to carry the motion.

Cannot take the risk

According to the JD (S) leadership, Mr. Kumaraswamy cannot take the risk of permitting the legislators to caste a conscience vote as he indicated on Friday soon after the swearing-in ceremony. Legislators close to Mr Kumaraswamy said he spoke of a conscience vote on the spur of the moment. While Mr. Kumaraswamy continues to maintain that there is no need to issue a whip, the JD(S) State President N. Thippanna, who is in the Kumaraswamy camp, said "issuing a whip is a must."

The former Prime Minister and JD(S) national President, H.D. Deve Gowda's tough stance has come as a shock to some of the legislators, who believed that he would extend support to them in due course.

During the run-up to the formation of the JD(S)-BJP government, Mr. Kumaraswamy was hurriedly elected leader of the joint legislature party of the JD(S) and the BJP. The JD(S) rebels and the BJP legislators had wanted to substantiate their claim before Governor T.N. Chaturvedi.

However, sources in the Assembly Secretariat said that under the present circumstances, Mr. Kumaraswamy cannot issue a combined whip to the legislators of the JD(S) and the BJP. His election as the leader of the joint legislature party is yet to be recognised by the Speaker. A requisition in this connection has not been made to the Speaker so far.