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Karnataka CM asked to prove majority by 1.30 p.m. today

Locked in talks:Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deputy CM G. Parameshwara and Minister D.K. Shivakumarin the Assembly on Thursday.K. MURALI KUMARThe Hindu

Locked in talks:Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deputy CM G. Parameshwara and Minister D.K. Shivakumarin the Assembly on Thursday.K. MURALI KUMARThe Hindu   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Govt.’s fall appears imminent as Governor sets deadline; rebels to skip session

In a shock to the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government in Karnataka, Governor Vajubhai Vala has directed Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy to prove his majority by 1.30 p.m. on the floor of the Assembly on Friday.

With the rebel MLAs resolute in their stand that they will not attend the session, the fall of the 13-month-old government appears imminent.

The Governor’s direction came after the House adjourned earlier on Thursday amid a heated debate without a vote on the confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister. This was despite the Governor sending a message to Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar, expressing a desire that the House complete the process by the end of the day.

The ruling party leaders, who had argued that the Governor’s message was an infringement on their rights, also opposed the deadline he set for the Chief Minister. However, the Opposition BJP, which had petitioned the Governor against the “delay” in putting the confidence motion to vote, welcomed his directive.

Later in the night the entire BJP legislature party, led by Leader of the Opposition B.S. Yeddyurappa slept in the Assembly, protesting the delay in the confidence motion being put to vote. Mr. Yeddyurappa called it ‘diversionary tactics’ to prolong the trust vote.

“It was clear the treasury benches had only 98 MLAs on their side and and the Opposition 105 today. The Chief Minister should have resigned and walked out,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said.

“We were not opposed to a debate on the confidence motion. But it was not debated at all. I appealed to the Speaker to complete the debate even by midnight and put it to vote. Even the Governor’s directions were ignored,” he said.

“It was clear the treasury benches had only 98 MLAs on their side and and the Opposition 105 today. The Chief Minister should have resigned and walked out,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said.

“We were not opposed to a debate on the confidence motion. But it was not debated at all. I even appealed to the Speaker to complete the debate even by midnight and put it to vote. Even the Governor’s directions were ignored,” he said.

In his letter to the Chief Minister, Mr. Vala said that over the past weeks, 15 MLAs had submitted their resignation from the House and two Independent MLAs, too, had given letters withdrawing their support to the government, which “ prima facie indicate that you have lost majority in the House.”

The Governor said he had not intervened in the matter earlier “having regard to the fact that the House was called and trust vote was moved.”

He pointed out that “proceedings of the House on July 18 were stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality” and this “cannot go on in a democratic set-up governed by the Constitution of India.” He added that the House was adjourned though he had sent a message to the Speaker.

“Under these circumstances, I require you to prove your majority on the floor of the House on or before 1:30 p.m. tomorrow [Friday].”

The Governor said he had not intervened in the matter earlier “having regard to the fact that the House was called and trust vote was moved.”

He pointed out that “proceedings of the House on July 18 were stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality” and this “cannot go on in a democratic set-up governed by the Constitution of India.”

He said the House was adjourned though he had sent a message to the Speaker. “Under these circumstances, I require you to prove your majority on the floor of the House on or before 1:30 p.m. tomorrow [Friday].”

Meanwhile, high drama was witnessed with one more Congress MLA Shreemanth Patil (Kagawad) absenting himself from proceedings and sending a letter and a video to the Speaker, showing him admitted to a government hospital in Mumbai. The Congress accused the BJP of “kidnapping” him and engineering his defection.

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