Karnataka Assembly floor test | Kumaraswamy wins trust vote with 116 votes; BJP walks out

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy in the Assembly after the trust vote on Friday, May 25, 2018.   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa murthy

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has won the trust vote in the Assembly on Friday with 116 votes. Earlier, K.R. Ramesh Kumar was unanimously elected the Speaker at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

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Mr. Kumaraswamy was sworn in as the State's 30th Chief Minister on Wednesday, as the head of coalition government of the Congress and JD (S). The coalition came about following a hung verdict in the polls, when the BJP, despite being the single largest party, failed to reach the majority mark.

Here are the updates:

4 p.m.

Confidence motion put to vote

As BJP MLAs walk out of the House, the confidence motion was put to vote, and it passes the House.

Mr. Kumaraswamy remains the Chief Minister.

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3.45 p.m.

‘Yeddyurappa used impolite words in House’

Replying to the speech of the leader of the Opposition in the House, B.S. Yeddyurappa, Mr. Kumaraswamy says, “I have listened to Mr. Yeddyurappa's speech carefully. But he has given wrong information and used impolite words in the House. I will not indulge in personal attacks. Listening to him, I feel the people will not give the BJP power and his speech was perhaps a rehearsal for some drama company.”

Mr. Kumaraswamy refers to The Hindu's ''Yes, No, It's complicated ''article by Prakash Javadekar where he wrote that Mr. Siddaramaiah would be in jail on corruption charges within 24 hours if the BJP comes to power.

He says:

"And it is the same people who now slander my family's name and tell the Congress not to support us? See my call records to see the kind of harassment I have received from Delhi officers on the behest of the BJP.

"Yeddyurappa says Siddaramaiah is sidelined here. But does he know that people in Delhi do not even acknowledge Yeddyurappa?

"The Centre has already created a false document where I have set up some company in Malayasia and am making money there. But I will not bow down to these threats.

"First time in the country's historty, the Centre has been systematically using IT/ED to target opposition.

"I did not simply announce the schemes for votes. I have Siddaramaiah with me, and he knows how to handle finances of the state.

''The kind of terms Yeddyurappa has used denigrates the stature of the Leader of the Opposition.

"I don't know if Yeddyurappa sees darkness in his political future. I have seen many leaders, but have not seen this type of speech that denigrates the post of Leader of opposition."

3.30 p.m.

Why didn't Congress try to keep CM post: Yeddyurappa

Mr. Yeddyurappa says, "In Independent India, never has anyone said that he will die if the people do not make him the chief minister. Why didn't the Congress try to keep the post? Even before the results were completely declared, the coalition was already being discussed. I will not discuss who have approached me after the polls. It is true that I have extended invitations to people to ensure that the corrupt father-son duo don't assume power in the state. The only reason behind the coalition is to deny BJP the chance to form a government."

Mr. Yeddyurappa asks the Congress MLAs "Think about the "impure coalition". ''People are laughing at the Congress for joining hands with the JD(S). Think about the future of your party. Don't worry about the BJP."

Mr. Yeddyurappa says, "Waiver of farm loans of Rs. 53,000 crore. Rs.6,000 pension a month for senior citizens. Rs. 6,000 a month for pregnant mothers. Loan waiver for women's self-help groups. We will welcome it. There was large scale corruption during your previous tenure [Kumaraswamy]. In 1984, Mr. Deve Gowda gave sites to his own relatives in Mysuru. I have all documents. But, waiver of farm loan from cooperatives and nationalised banks, if done completely, we will support it wholeheartedly. Else, on Monday, we will hold a Karnataka bandh and "teach the JD[S] a lesson".

After Yeddyurappa concludes his speech, the BJP MLAs stage a walkout amidst calls of "shame shame shame" from the Congress and JD(S) MLAs.

3.15 p.m.

Our struggle is against father-son duo: Yeddyurappa

Mr. Yeddyurappa says:

“You [Congress] may not have got the people's mandate for some reason. But the Congress high command calls Mr. Kumaraswamy to Delhi and none of the leaders from the State. They took all the decisions. I have decided to not speak against the Congress leaders. From now, our struggle will be against the corrupt father-son duo.

“I ask Chief Minister Mr. Kumaraswamy, why did you not hold hands or bow to former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. You held hands and bowed down to leaders who had come down from different parts of the country. The citizens of the state were all watching this.

“If your father [Deve Gowda] was pained by your alliance with the BJP, why did you continue in the coalition for 20 months?”

The Speaker says, “Let us not refer to persons who are not present in the House.”

Mr. Yeddyurappa says, "Deve Gowda had objected to giving farm loan waiver. Mr. Revanna and Mr. Kumaraswamy were both present then. I have documents to support my statements."

Murmurs of objections are heard, but Mr. Kumaraswamy says,"Let us not disrupt his speech. We will respond to all statements."

Congress MLA D.K. Shivakumar says, "I have only followed directions given to me by AICC president Rahul Gandhi."

Mr. Yeddyurappa replies, "Do you think you will become chief minister by sitting in the Congress? In a few months, the father-son duo will make people forget the name of the Congress."

3 p.m.

Big crime that I supported govt in 2006: Yeddyurappa

Mr. Yeddyurappa says:

“In the 20 months that Kumaraswamy was the Chief Minister [2006-2008], I supported fully and did not question his moves. However, when it was my time to become the Chief Minister, the father and son started their politicking. Kumaraswamy says his father did not like it, and that he regrets it. He even apologises to the people. I now say it was a big crime that I supported the government in 2006.

“Didn't we have an agreement? Wasn't there a discussion about it? Weren't the BJP and the JD(S) leaders there during the discussions? People of the State have witnessed this. I have toured the State thrice in two years and learnt the issues. Whom have people rejected? Did they give their mandate to the JD(S) or the Congress? Siddaramaiah, JD(S) had put G.T. Deve Gowda against you, ensured you lost and insulted you. Is this not the truth?”

Murmurs fill the Assembly hall as Mr. Yeddyurappa continues to speak. The Speaker asks MLAs to respect the debate and listen to Mr. Yeddyurappa.

Mr. Yeddyurappa says, “the JD(S) has reneged on the deal.” Turning to Mr. Shivakumar, he says, “You will regret protecting the MLAs and reposing your trust in an untrustworthy person. The JD()S) lost their deposit in more than 120 seats, and has not won in 16 districts. And then all of you gang up to make a JD(S) leader the Chief Minister. Modi has not said that only the BJP should come to power in Karnataka. This is a lie, and there is no need to propagate that here.”

“I have no objection if you [Mr. Shivakumar and the Congress) want to join Mr. Kumaraswamy in a sinking ship.”

2.45 p.m.

We will begin work immediately, says Kumaraswamy

Mr. Kumaraswamy says, “It is my duty to implement the assurances and hopes as spelt out by Mr. Yeddyurappa during his speech during the previous confidence motion. Our work will start today evening itself when we'll have a meeting with all in the coalition government.”

Mr. Yeddyurappa says, “In this democratic process, the democratic mandate has been sidelined for opportunistic politics. This is the people's opinion.”

2.30 p.m.

Kumaraswamy hits back at Yeddyurappa on farm loan waivers

The Chief Minister hits back at Mr. Yeddyurappa, by pointing out that he has told in the past that it won't be possible to waive off loans without affecting the economic health of the State. He reads out a statement where Mr. Yeddyurappa has said that it can remain only an election promise.

“I am confident that this alliance government will stay in power for the next five years. We did not increase tax for farm loan waiver. Mr. Yeddyurappa's government increased tax by 0.5% before announcing ₹3,800 crore farm loan waiver.

Mr. Kumaraswamy says:

“We will continue the Congress schemes. This is an alliance. This government will work towards ensuring the promises made in the manifesto of the Congress and the JD(S) are both fulfilled. I will be a Chief Minister only after the trust vote. I cannot take any decision before the trust vote. In future, we will ensure that there will be no need for any organisation, group or community to go to the streets to protest. I will not give rise to such a situation. I appeal to Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is older than me and has been part of many struggles, to share his insights on the common man's difficulties with the house. I don't want to hurt him.

“When I was the Chief Minister, I met people from across the State during the 'Janata Darshan'. I only asked them about their difficulties, never about which caste or community they belonged to. I will not be able to help people in my personal capacity. I told the people to give me a chance to serve them as Chief Minister. From 2008, when the BJP formed the government for the next five years, what did the government do? 'Operation Kamala' had begun by then. There was no drinking water; no minimum support price and no development of villages. The BJP had 114 seats.

“I commend the Congress and the Supreme Court. If the court did not ensure that the trust vote should be done within a day [instead of the Governor's decision of 15 days given to the BJP], we would have seen many tragedies [of democracy]. Has the country given the mandate only to the BJP to protect democracy? Your own leader has said the Constitution should be changed. The Supreme Court has given the judgment to protect democracy.

“I lacked experience, as a first-time MLA, when we formed the coalition with the BJP and became Chief Minister. In the past decade, I have seen ups and downs. I will take the advice and suggestions of senior leaders for the development of the State, and ensure that our coalition will become a model in governance.”

2.15 p.m.

I want to right the wrongs I have done: Kumaraswamy

Mr. Kumaraswamy says:

“My family has not hankered for power. We have worked for maintaining secular identity. Today, people should not feel that I joined hands with the Congress because I wanted to become the Chief Minister. I took the decision for the future of my party. I want to right the wrongs that I have done when I was previously the Chief Minister.”

“There were rumours that pained me a great deal when I was the Chief Minister. When I did not hand over power the first time, I earned a lot of ill will. I had an agreement with Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Eshwarappa and not the BJP's leadership. I have borne the brunt of being labelled as someone who hasn't keep his word for the past 10 years.”

“None of the BJP leaders met me then. But I got painted as a villain. Now, the BJP is questioning why the Congress with 78 MLAs had joined hands with the JD(S) with 37 MLAs. I took the decision to right the wrongs of the past and remove the black mark that is on my father. I am grateful for the second chance. I am pained that the citizens did not bless the JD(S) with the majority. It was a fractured verdict in 2008. The BJP formed the government though the party didn't have the majority.”

“Mr. Yeddyurappa said that the BJP will not sit quiet if the government doesn't waive farm loans. In his speech, he said that the government should focus on irrigation and work for the welfare of the farmers. We will not give an opportunity for the BJP to protest. We don't have to learn about farm loan waiver from the BJP. I only joked when I said you [farmers in Chikkamagaluru] didn't vote for me and so I won't waive loans. I will never play with the lives of farmers.”

1.50 p.m.

Given a second chance, says Kumaraswamy

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy proposes the trust vote.

He says:

“Thankful to the Speaker for giving me the opportunity to seek trust vote. The 2018 Assembly polls has resulted in unique political developments in the State. The people have not given me a complete mandate. The Opposition feels the mandate is theirs, but I am yet to understand how they believe it to be so. In 2004 also it was a similar situation. I came to the Assembly then and observed the developments and discussions from the last bench. Today, I am being labelled as a controversial politician.

“I first want to thank senior Congress leaders, including G. Parameshwara, Ghulam Nabi Azad and others. Soon after results, I got a call from Dr. Parameshwara who suggested that the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) should join hands and form a government. I was not desirous of the Chief Minister post. But I have been given a second chance to be Chief Minister. Those who helped me become the Chief Minister for the first time are now sitting in the Opposition side.

“Last week, Mr. Yeddyurappa, as Chief Minister, remembered Prime Minister Narendra Modi for choosing him to lead the BJP in the polls. But I am unable to understand how he made a statement that he will not allow any other party apart from the BJP to form a government in Karnataka. He is the custodian of democracy. We are now 118 in strength, including the Congress, the Janata Dal (S), the BSP and independents. We submitted the letter to the Governor requesting him to allow us to form a government. However, he chose to invite the single largest party and gave them 15 days time to prove their majority. This has not happened in other States.

“I am guilty of taking political decisions that have pained my father. The circumstances were such that I did not have much choice. My father had to be admitted to the hospital.”

1.20 p.m

Yeddyurappa told me BJP will support me as Speaker, says Ramesh Kumar

Mr Ramesh Kumar says Mr. Yeddyurappa is the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and Mr. Karjol (BJP member) is his deputy.

He says:

"I am touched by the words of the MLAs. I will try to keep up the trust you have reposed in me. You must always remember that you have been chosen as representatives of the people under the Representation of the People's Act.

"Democracy has not come in one day or easily. A lot of people have lost their lives to ensure that we have democracy. This is my second term as Speaker. When I was chosen as Speaker first, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda said that though I wanted a Minister's post, he said there was no one who he trusted more for the Speaker's post.

"We all have to learn from each other. The people outside are watching us. Let them not feel ashamed or embarrassed by our acts inside the House.

''If we are all transparent and pro-people, my job becomes easy. Party leadership, colleagues of the House have congratulated me. Mr. Yeddyurappa called me and told me that the BJP Legislature Party had decided to support me as Speaker.

"You all have a big role in democracy. Let us not focus on small things. This House has seen many interesting things. Let us uphold democracy and parliamentary history. I have contested in 10 elections, lost in four. I am from a large, poor family. I came to Bengaluru with my elder brother. We have undergone a tragedy in the one month. Can't forget many people like K.H. Patil and Basavalingappa. Their shadows are on me. Jagadish Shettar, Sadananda Gowda are juniors, but got promoted before me. They didn't teach me how to get quick promotions. I urge them to now teach others in the House."

1.00 p.m.

The chair has got new respect, says Shivakumar

Mr. Shivakumar recollects Mr. Ramesh Kumar's previous tenure as Speaker and how it helped new MLAs learn about participating in the House proceedings. "With his election again as Speaker, the Chair has got new respect. You took us to Hyderabad for training and better understanding of how the Assembly works. This cannot be forgotten. There is no one more suitable for the Speaker's post than you.

"You and BJP MLA S. Suresh Kumar, who had earlier submitted his nomination for the Speaker's post, have been good friends and we have seen fruitful interactions between the two of you. It is commendable that he withdrew his nomination to make way for your selection."

Krishna Byre Gowda, Congress MLA from Byatarayanapura constituency, says: " No one can comment about your experience as Speaker. We have the distinction of being the model house in the country. Don't agree that you accidentally came into politics. You came to politics to bring about changes in society."

Suresh Kumar, who withdrew his nomination today, says Mr. Ramesh Kumar is suited for the post. "Most of us are "products" of the '94-99 period. There was a formidable Opposition during that period and you handled it well. We are glad that you have been elected unopposed. Let the discussions improve, like they did during 1994-99."

12.50 p.m

Siddaramaiah lauds Ramesh Kumar's experience as MLA, Speaker

Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Parameshwara congratulate the newly-elected Speaker. Mr. Parameshwara assures Ramesh Kumar that the members will all abide by the rules of the House. Mr. Siddaramaiah congratulates Mr. Ramesh Kumar and acknowledges his experience in the House, as an MLA and as a Speaker.

He says Mr. Ramesh Kumar has good knowledge of the law and could have been a good "criminal side" lawyer, drawing laughs from other members of the House. "A lot of new and old faces present in the House. It has been said that the quality of discussions has deteriorated. We are ready to cooperate to ensure that quality of discussions in the House improves," he says.

"We are sent here by the people to discuss issues on their behalf. There must be emphasis on the development of the State. The new MLAs must cooperate and your experience as Speaker will be helpful in this regard. This is an alliance government, it may be difficult to manage. As Speaker, you have the strength to ensure that the House functions well," he adds.

BJP MLA Govind M. Karjol congratulates the Speaker. He says Mr. Kumar he is well suited for the post, given his vast experience and knowledge. The BJP will cooperate with the House proceedings.

 

12.25 p.m

Ramesh Kumar elected Speaker

Pro-tem Speaker K G. Bopaiah announces in the Assembly that K.R. Ramesh Kumar has been unanimously elected as Speaker of the Assembly. Members across party lines congratulate Mr. Kumar. This is minutes after BJP candidate Suresh Kumar withdrew his nomination.

Mr. Kumaraswamy says mR. Ramesh Kumar is an experienced man who has served as Speaker earlier. The Chief Minister thanks the BJP for the gesture of withdrawing the nomination.  Mr. Kumaraswamy recalls the history of the State's illustrious speakers.

"You were the Speaker when my father [Deve Gowda] served as Chief Minister. I deem it a privilege that you are Speaker now when I serve as the Chief Minister," he says.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar served as the Speaker of Assembly during 1994-99. He served as a Health Minister in the Congress government headed by Mr. Siddaramaiah. He is a Congress MLA representing Srinivaspura from Kolar district.

12.15 p.m

BJP's Suresh Kumar withdraws nomination

Mr. Suresh Kumar has tweeted saying he has withdrawn his nomination paper for the unanimous election of the Speaker, in keeping with the "legislature tradition".

Legislators are trickling into the Assembly. First on the agenda is the Speaker's election.

11.45 a.m

Doing my job for Congress, says Shivakumar

Mr. Shivakumar arrives at the Congress Legislature Party meeting, ending speculation about his initial absence.

"I am doing my job for the party, let us not speculate on other things. The Congress party will take the right decision," he said.

D.K Shivakumar and other party leaders at the CLP meeting at the Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru, on May 25, 2018

D.K Shivakumar and other party leaders at the CLP meeting at the Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru, on May 25, 2018   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Mr. Shivakumar, former energy minister,  was reportedly rattled that he was denied a key post in the coalition government. He is said to have expressed his discontent to the Congress, especially after his service to the party, and the risk he took in keeping the flock together after the fractured mandate in the Assembly elections. However, he is expected to get a Cabinet berth.

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11.25 a.m.


All three parties are holding legislature party meetings. Mr. Yeddyurappa, speaking before the legislature party meeting, says that 104 BJP legislators in the Opposition unanimously demand waiver of farm loans. If not the party would launch an agitation. "The Chief Minister has to announce it in the Assembly today," he says.

Speaking near the Vidhana Soudha, former Minister Ramalinga Reddy says the BJP speaks out of spite, unable to digest the fact that they have lost power. He dismisses speculations of serious differences in the Congress, adding "small differences" will be sorted out.

11.00 a.m

Congress Legislatures Party meeting on

Congress MLAs arrive at the Vidhana Soudha from the Hilton, where they were staying. A Congress Legislature Party meeting is underway at the Vidhana Soudha. It is being chaired by Mr. Siddaramaiah.

Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah chairs the Congress CLP meeting at Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru, May 25, 2018

Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah chairs the Congress CLP meeting at Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru, May 25, 2018   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Congress leader Zameer Ahmed Khan tells the media  that all legislators are united. He refutes reports of discontentment among party legislators.

10.50 a.m


Expressing regret over holding JD(S) legislators in a resort, JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti says it was inevitable because of the grand plans of the BJP to launch ''Operation Kamala.'' He was speaking to the media in front of Krishna, Home Office of the Chief Minister.

10.30 a.m


JD (S) Legislators reach Krishna home-office of Mr. Kumaraswamy for a meeting. After the meeting, they will leave for the Vidhana Soudha.

 

Election to Speaker’s post to see a contest

On Thursday, Congress–JD(S) nominee Mr. Ramesh Kumar and BJP's  Mr. Suresh Kumar filed their nomination papers at the Legislative Assembly Secretariat.

While MLA for Malleswaram C.N. Ashwathnarayan and MLA for Karkala V. Sunil Kumar accompanied Mr. Suresh Kumar for the filing of nomination papers, Mr. Ramesh Kumar was accompanied by Mr. Parameshwara, Mr. Siddaramaiah and other senior Congress leaders. Mr. Suresh Kumar has served as Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the BJP government, and Mr. Ramesh Kumar was the Speaker between 1994 and 1999.

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JD(S)-Congress understanding for 2019 Lok Sabha polls depends on fair dialogue: Kumaraswamy

In an interview to The Hindu on the eve of the floor test, Mr. Kumaraswamy says the JD(S)-Congress alliance will survive as long as there is a fair and transparent dialogue between the partners.

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(Inputs from Chitra Ramani, Muralidara Khajane, Nagesh Prabhu, Bageshree Subbanna)

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