Karnataka turmoil: two trust votes in 10 days

Decide on rebel MLAs first, then hold trust vote: Coalition

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda speaking in the Legislative Assembly in Bengaluru on Monday.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda speaking in the Legislative Assembly in Bengaluru on Monday.  

Confidence motion has no sanctity if it is put to vote before deciding on resignations of members, Krishna Byre Gowda tells Speaker

The coalition on Monday appealed to Legislative Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar to put to vote the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy after deciding the fate of 15 members who had tendered their resignations to the Assembly a few days ago.

Speaking on the trust vote in the Assembly, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda quoted from audio tapes of alleged conversations between rebel MLAs, their family members and the BJP leaders, which has been doing the rounds in media over the past several weeks. He also quoted several media reports and presented photographs to allege that the 15 rebels had been lured away with enticements and were accompanied away from the city by BJP leaders. He sought to know how then the resignation can be deemed “voluntary” and “genuine”.

He said that the House was facing an “extraordinary situation” following the Supreme Court ruling, not compelling 15 members to attend the House. The confidence motion has no sanctity if it was put to vote before deciding the resignations of members, he argued.

The Speaker has to take one of the three decisions — reject or accept the resignations or disqualify members from the House for violating the whip issued by the party. “I will urge the Speaker first to take a decision on the 15 members before putting the confidence motion for voting in the House,” Mr. Gowda said.

Lashing out at the BJP for undertaking ‘Operation Lotus’ to grab power through unethical means, Mr. Gowda in his long speech largely dwelt on the alleged telephonic conversations between rebel legislators and the BJP leaders. Rebel Congress member Ramesh Jarkiholi has been hobnobbing with the BJP leaders for a long time and he worked against the party candidate in the Lok Sabha election, he said.

Mr. Gowda referred to a telephonic conversations between Congress rebel member B.C. Patil and a BJP leader over the offer of ₹25 crore made to the former to resign from the membership to the House. The BJP leader reportedly gave an assurance to Mr. Patil that nothing could happen to him since the party was ruling at the Centre and it would come to power in the State as well. He also quoted from the audio tape that Mr. Kumaraswamy released in February in which Leader of the Opposition was heard speaking to a JD(S) MLA’s son trying to woo him.

BJP legislators J.C. Madhuswamy and Jagadish Shettar took objection to references made to Mr. Patil and Mr. Jarkiholi, as the members were not present in the House to defend themselves. However, the Speaker upheld the views of Mr. Gowda and said the resigned MLAs had not informed him about their absence and told the ruling and Opposition to expose the misdeeds of the members on either side.

But the Speaker told Mr. Gowda not to speak on the resignation of R. Shankar since the matter was in his jurisdiction. Mr. Shankar has given a letter to the Speaker about merging his party with the Congress.

Citing media statements by a rebel MLA that he would be joining the BJP, Mr. Gowda argued that it showed the BJP was behind all the resignations. “The MLA is accused of collusion with the IMA group founder to cheat the public. The BJP is joining hands with such people,” he said. He also displayed photographs showing BJP leaders R. Ashok, C.N. Ashwath Narayan, and K.G. Bopaiah with the rebel MLAs. “Have these members resigned voluntarily?” he asked.

“Operation Lotus was nothing short of an assault on democracy,” he maintained and said the BJP had the “blood of democracy on their hands”.

Saying that the State and the media were suffering from collective amnesia, he sought to remind the House of Operation Lotus during the 2008-2013 BJP stint.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 9:22:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/decide-on-rebel-mlas-first-then-hold-trust-vote-coalition/article28662138.ece

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