Karnataka political crisis updates | Need to ensure resignations are genuine and voluntary, says the Speaker

Photo finish: Byrathi Basavaraj run to meet the Speaker at Vidhana Soudha's west entrance.

Photo finish: Byrathi Basavaraj run to meet the Speaker at Vidhana Soudha's west entrance.   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G.P.

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The resignations cannot be accepted without proper scrutiny, says Karnataka Speaker

With 16 legislators submitting their resignations, the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka is on the brink of collapse. The Cabinet is expected to meet later in the day.

The Supreme Court has ordered the rebel MLAs to meet the Speaker in person on Thursday evening. It will further hear the case on Friday. The monsoon session of the Karnataka Legislature was supposed to begin on Friday.

Here are the updates:

7.10 pm

Not my job to decide who is to be saved or persecuted, says Speaker

Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar ruled out any possibility of accepting the MLAs' resignations immediately and said that he would need to scrutinise and get clarity on the resignation letters.

"The process is not about who is to be saved and who is to be persecuted. That is not my job as a Speaker," said Mr. Ramesh Kumar. He was addressing the press in Vidhana Soudha.

"I am pained by insinuation that the MLAs had to approach the Supreme Court because of delay on my part," he said, pointing out that none of the MLAs had sought an appointment to tender their resignations on Saturday.

"I have the responsibility to ensure that the resignations are genuine and voluntary. I will leave it to people's imagination as to whether there is a need to do this, given the political atmosphere in the State. I will not comment on it," the Speaker added.

"It is not just about accepting and rejecting a resignation in a country that has seen thousands of defections," said Mr. Ramesh Kumar, going on to explain the context in which the anti-defection law came into force.

Also read: What the Anti-Defection Law says

The Speaker added that the current events in Karnataka is a continuation of what has been described as a 'national malady'. "I am not under anyone's obligation. [My obligation] is to the people of this place and the country's Constitution," he added.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar said that approaching the the Governor for "silly reason" was misuse of Constitutional post.

"Do the MLAs have to the approach the Supreme Court to meet me?" he asked, adding that the MLAs could have come to meet him rather than go away to Mumbai and then accuse him of not being available.

"I have told the MLAs that they could have approached me for protection if they faced any threat," he added.

'Cannot accept resignations without proper scrutiny'

The Speaker said that the resignations cannot be accepted without proper scrutiny. "I have to think if it is genuine and voluntary," he said. "I will not waver from rules."

"The Supreme Court has not asked me to decide in any particular manner," he said.

7.00 pm

Congress petition Speaker to disqualify 8 MLAs

A Congress delegation has petitioned Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar, seeking the disqualification of Congress' eight rebel MLAs under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution for defection. Earlier, the party had petitioned to disqualify only two MLAs – Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumatalli. The party has not petitioned the Speaker to disqualify three other rebel MLAs – Ramalinga Reddy, M.T.B Nagaraj and Dr. K. Sudhakar.

Meanwhile, Janata Dal (Secular) has also petitioned the Speaker to disqualify three rebel MLAs.

6.45 pm

Opposition leaders protest in Parliament over Karnataka, Goa crisis

Opposition MPs from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Communist Party of India held a protest in Parliament Complex, alleging that the political crises in Karnataka and Goa was a threat to democracy. A number of top Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Anand Sharma, protested near the Gandhi statue in the complex and shouted slogans. They also carried placards with messages like “Save Democracy” and “Stop bulldozing State governments“.

Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party over defections in the States, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, “This is an assault on Constitution and murder of democracy. Is the BJP looking to make India a one-party State?” he asked.

CPI’s D Raja, RJD’s Manoj Jha, TMC’s Sudeep Bandyopadhyay and Dola Sen, NCP’s Majid Memon and SP’s Azam Khan were also among the protestors.

In Goa, the Congress suffered a serious setback on Wednesday as 10 of its 15 MLAs quit the party and joined the BJP.

The Congress leadership has blamed the saffron party for the desertions from its ranks in both the States. The BJP has claimed that the Karnataka government has been reduced to a minority and has demanded Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s resignation.

Sources also said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called Kumaraswamy on Wednesday evening and proposed a joint protest. - PTI

6.30 pm

Glimpses from the race to keep the deadline

Byrathi Basavaraj photographed inside Vidhana Soudha

Byrathi Basavaraj photographed inside Vidhana Soudha   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

 

Ramesh Jarkiholi photographed inside Vidhana Soudha

Ramesh Jarkiholi photographed inside Vidhana Soudha   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

 

K. Gopalaiah photographed inside Vidhana Soudha

K. Gopalaiah photographed inside Vidhana Soudha   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

B.C. Patil (in the yellow shirt) and A. Shivaram Hebbar photographed inside Vidhana Soudha

B.C. Patil (in the yellow shirt) and A. Shivaram Hebbar photographed inside Vidhana Soudha   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

 

 

6.10 pm

Rebel legislators race to reach Vidhan Soudha before SC stipulated time

Raising anxiety in the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress coalition camp, the first batch of rebel legislators have just arrived in Vidhan Soudha. The Supreme Court had asked them to be present before the Speaker by 6 p.m. The MLAs had recieved traffic clearance to reach Vidhana Soudha from HAL Airport in Bengaluru.

Gopalaiah, S.T. Somashekar, Narayan Gowda and Mahesh Kumatalli enter Vidhan Soudha

Gopalaiah, S.T. Somashekar, Narayan Gowda and Mahesh Kumatalli enter Vidhan Soudha   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G.P.

 

The rebel MLAs, who were camping in Mumbai, arrived in Bengaluru by a special flight, hours after the Supreme Court allowed them to meet the Assembly Speaker to convey their decision to resign.

The legislators had boarded the flight to the Karnataka capital at 2.50 p.m.

6.00 pm

Whip issued to Congress legislators

Meanwhile, ahead of the session starting on Friday, Congress has issued whip to its legislators to be present during the session from July 12-26. The whip, issued by Congress Chief whip Ganesha Hukkeri has asked all the Congress legislators to vote in favour of the government if any Bill or motion is moved in the Assembly. The whip warns of action under anti-defection law if the whip is violated.

Also read: What the Anti-Defection Law says

5.30 pm

Delegation of BJP leaders try to enter Speaker's office

A delegation of BJP leaders are trying to enter the Speaker's office even as a JD(S) delegation is with the Speaker to press for disqualification of three party legislators who have turned rebels. Police are trying to convince them by stating that the speaker has asked no one to be allowed near his office located on the first floor of Vidhana Soudha.

JD(S) leader and former MLC Ramesh Babu filed the disqualification petition on behalf of the party on Wednesday. However, since Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar had sought additional details Mr. Babu accompanied by Chief Minister's Political Secretary Kone Reddy have arrived at speaker's chamber with their lawyers.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary Rajaneesh Goyal and Director General and Inspector General Neelamani Raju checked the security in Vidhana Soudha ahead of the arrival of rebel legislators from Mumbai.

Vidhana Soudha has literally turned into a fortress with a large posse of policemen deployed inside and outside the power centre. Entry of visitors have been restricted with only secretariat staff being allowed inside.

Earlier in the day, Congress Legislative Party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao, former MP Ugrappa and Home Minister M. B. Patil met the Speaker in the morning in connection with disqualification petition that the Congress had filed in February 2019 against four legislators Ramesh Jharkiholi, Mahesh Kumatalli, B. Nagendra and Umesh Jadhav.

While the petition no longer mentions Mr. Jadhav, who is now BJP MP from Gulbarga, sources said Congress is pursuing the case against Mr. Jharkiholi and Mr. Kumatalli only leaving Mr. Nagendra also outside the ambit.

The Congress leaders had come to Speaker's chamber as Mr. Ramesh Kumar had scheduled the proceedings for Thursday.

2.15 pm

Karnataka State Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar urgently asked the Supreme Court to recall its Thursday order asking him to meet 10 Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs at 6 p.m. and decide on their resignation “forthwith or in the course of the remaining part of the day”.

The Speaker said the Supreme Court cannot ask him to decide on the issue of resignation of legislators in a particular manner. Mr. Kumar said the order also hinders his inquiry into the MLAs under the anti-defection law.

“No direction is contemplated against the Speaker to take a decision under Article 190 (vacation of seat by a legislator) in a particular manner. The order would also impede the duties of the Speaker under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution,” the Speaker submitted.

Read more
 

1:40 pm

BJP has nothing to do with our stay in Mumbai:  Byrathi Basavaraj

The rebel MLAs have left the Mumbai hotel and are on their way to the airport.

Speaking to reporters before departure, ex-Congress MLA Byrathi Basavaraj said as per the Supreme Court's direction they are leaving for Bengaluru to resubmit their resignations to Speaker. "There is no change in our stand," he said.

Refuting charges that they are in the custody of BJP, Mr. Basavaraj said "they were still members of Congress party," and added: "we have only sought protection from Maharashtra government.  Apart from that the local government here [Maharashtra] has nothing to do with our stay in Mumbai."

It may be noted that the rebel MLAs have not quit the party yet.

12.40 pm

Following the Supreme Court order, the rebel MLAs staying at a private hotel in Mumbai are expected to reach Bengaluru. Sources told The Hindu that the MLAs will be leaving for Bengaluru around 2 pm.

11:25 am

SC orders rebel MLAs to meet Speaker at 6 pm today

The Supreme Court, which heard the plea of 10 rebel MLAs, ordered them to meet the Speaker in person at 6 pm on Thursday. The apex court also asked the Speaker to grant them an audience, hear them, and take decision forthwith or in the course of the day.

The court directed the Speaker to inform his decision on Friday. It also ordered Karnataka DGP to grant protection to the rebel MLAs.

 

 

11:00 am

'Why should I resign?'

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy arrives at Vidhan Soudha for Cabinet meet, in Bengaluru on Thursday.

Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy arrives at Vidhan Soudha for Cabinet meet, in Bengaluru on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

 

Responding to questions by media persons whether he would be resigning, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy asked why should he resign. "Had B S Yeddyurappa resigned during a similar crisis in 2010? There is no question of me resigning," he said.

He was referring to a crisis in the then BJP government when 18 MLAs including eight ministers had withdrawn support to the government in 2010.

10:30 am

BJP demands Speaker's resignation

The BJP has demanded Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s resignation while expressing anger over the delay in accepting resignations of rebel MLAs from the ruling coalition.

Speaking to reporters, BJP MLA and former minister M. P. Renukacharya alleged that the speaker was responsible for the Wednesday’s ugly scenes in Vidhana Soudha as things would not have happened if there was an early decision on the resignations of MLAs.

He accused the Speaker of acting like a worker of a particular party and questioned the delay in accepting the resignations of MLAs.

10:25 am

Friction in BJP over Gopalaiah joining the party

About 50 workers of the BJP on Thursday met Party State President B. S. Yeddyurappa and opposed the proposed entry of Janata Dal (S) MLA  K. Gopalaiah into the party.

Alleging that his role had been suspected in the death of a BJP worker some time ago, they expressed concern that his entry to the BJP would demoralize the party workers.

They also maintained that he would not fit into the party ideology and said there was a huge resentment against him among BJP workers in the constituency.

10:15 am

Won't move an inch away from law, says Speaker Ramesh Kumar

All eyes on him: Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar arriving to address the media on Wednesday.

All eyes on him: Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar arriving to address the media on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: SAMPATH KUMAR G.P.

 

Amidst BJP leaders attacking speaker for "delay tactics" and rebel MLAs approaching Supreme Court over a similar grouse against him, Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar says: "I don't understand what is the urgency for BJP. There have been instances where such impasses have taken months to be resolved. Whatever the pressure, I am not going to move an inch away from the law and procedure."

This statement comes hours before the writ petition by rebel MLAs is expected to come up for hearing in the supreme court.

Amidst rumours that the government may postpone the assembly session scheduled from Friday, the Speaker said he won't allow the session to be postponed.

10:00 am

Prohibitory orders

Policemen and mediapersons argue at Vidhan Soudha where prohibitory orders are in force.

Policemen and mediapersons argue at Vidhan Soudha where prohibitory orders are in force.   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Bengaluru Police Commissioner Alok Kumar has issued prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, restricting the gathering of more than five persons and any form of protests within the two-km area around the Vidhana Soudha.

The police commissioner issued the orders on Wednesday night, taking into account intelligence inputs.

9:25 am

The Supreme Court, meanwhile, will hear a petition filed by 10 rebel MLAs who have submitted resignations to the office of Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar.

They have accused the Speaker of delaying acceptance of resignations in an effort to prolong the life of the coalition Government.

9:00 am

All eyes on Cabinet meet

Karnataka Cabinet led by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is set to meet at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Amidst a political crisis set off by a spate of resignations by coalition parties Congress and Janata Dal (Secular), all eyes are on the Cabinet meeting.

According to sources, there is speculation that Mr. Kumaraswamy could broach the topic of dissolution, which he is said to be in favour of. Sources added that Congress is not amenable to the idea of dissolution and wants to sit in the Opposition, if the situation demands. “Some within the JD(S) are also not keen on the option of dissolution,” said the source. “They are proposing an alternative of handing over the Chief Minister’s post to a prominent Congress rebel leader.”

Read more

8.50 am

Coalition battles on as numbers dwindle

Police escorting K. Sudhakar out of State Secretariat

Police escorting K. Sudhakar out of State Secretariat   | Photo Credit: Sampath Kumar G.P.

 

With two more Congress legislators tendering their resignation letters to Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday, the number of “rebel” legislators from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) quitting their Assembly membership went up to 16.

Of the 16, resignations of eight legislators are in the proper format under Rule 202 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Karnataka Legislative Assembly, said sources in the Speaker’s office.

On Tuesday, the Speaker had said that eight resignation letters were not in order.

Sources said Yellapur legislator Shivaram Hebbar had sent another resignation letter through his son and K.R. Puram legislator Byrathi Basavaraj had sent his resignation letter through his office staff. Mr. Kumar, however, said such things cannot be considered.

8.30 am

AICC files complaint

The All India Congress Committee (AICC), on Wednesday, filed a complaint stating that rebel MLAs of the party from Karnataka have been illegally confined at a hotel in Mumbai.

Earlier in the day, as a high drama unfolded outside the hotel when senior Karnataka minister D.K. Shivakumar arrived there to meet the legislators, police officials told him that the rebel MLAs had written to the city police commissioner fearing a threat to their lives due to his arrival. Mr. Shivakumar was subsequently detained and sent packing back to Bengaluru.

 

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 6:11:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-political-crisis-live-updates-july-11-2019/article28367385.ece

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