Karnataka turmoil: two trust votes in 10 days

The nail-biting final five minutes outside the House

K.R. Ramesh Kumar

K.R. Ramesh Kumar   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

It was a tense last five minutes for the BJP when Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar announced that division of votes would be taken up and the division bell started ringing.

Around 7.15 p.m., when the bell started ringing, aides to BJP leaders frantically started looking around for party legislators, to see if they were out for coffee. Only five minutes were left before the door to the House would be shut to take up the physical count.

“Look in the toilet too. Someone may be there,” a person called out to those looking in the nook and corner of the Opposition members’ lobby. Tense moments were witnessed as people paced up and down to make sure all legislators were inside the House. Meanwhile, Umanath Kotian, who had high blood pressure and was resting in Leader of Opposition B.S. Yeddyurappa’s cabin, was escorted to the House by party leader R. Ashok.

Earlier, as outgoing Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy was coming close to his speech, BJP legislators were herded inside the House by Mr. Ashok. At one point, when he saw former Minister Hartal Halappa snacking in the lobby, he asked him to eat after the trust vote. However, Mr. Halappa finished his snacks and coffee and went inside minutes before the voice vote was taken.

The BJP camp burst into joy after the Speaker announced the results, with many applauding and exchanging hugs.

On the other hand, for the JD(S)-Congress combine, writing was possibly on the wall, as most Ministers, including Mr. Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara remained calm soon after the government lost the trust vote. So were other the Cabinet Ministers.

Both leaders — accompanied by other senior Ministers and CLP leader Siddaramaiah — walked out of the House and met the Speaker in his chamber on a courtesy visit. Emotional scenes such as some touching Mr. Kumaraswamy’s feet were witnessed even as he remained calm and said only a few words. There were no pleasantries exchanged between leaders, an unusual sight near the Chief Minister’s chamber that is normally a beehive of activity.

“We are still Ministers. Wait till the CM meets the Governor. Only after that we will become former Ministers,” Higher Education Minister G.T. Deve Gowda was heard telling Cabinet colleague and Tourism Minister Sa. Ra. Mahesh. Mr. Mahesh also told Mr. Gowda that he stopped using his official car since Monday night.

Later, they held a brief meeting at Mr. Kumaraswamy’s chamber even as a few officials were typing out his letter to the Governor, while a senior official was speaking to the Raj Bhavan, seeking appointment.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 9:45:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/the-nail-biting-final-five-minutes-outside-the-house/article28692537.ece

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