Need to examine if resignations are genuine: K’taka Speaker

rebel MLAs, The Federal, English news website, KR Ramesh Kumar, Speaker
Rebel MLAs Vishwanath, Munirathna, Mahesh Kumathalli, Pratap Gowda arrive to meet the Speaker, at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Thursday. Photo: PTI

Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday (July 11) said that he needs to examine the resignations (of the rebel MLAs) and ascertain if they are genuine.

Addressing a press conference after holding talks with the 11 rebel MLAs, Kumar said, “The Supreme Court has asked me to take a decision. I have videographed everything and I will send it to the Supreme Court.”

Earlier, the rebel MLAs flew to Bengaluru from Mumbai in a chartered flight after the Supreme Court ordered them to meet the Speaker before 6 pm and submit their resignations.

“They (rebel MLAs) told me that some people had threatened them and they went to Mumbai in fear. But I told them that they should have approached me and I would’ve given them protection. Only three working days have lapsed but they behaved like an earthquake took place,” the Speaker added.

Questioning the rebel MLAs’ move to approach the apex court, the Speaker said the MLAs didn’t communicate with him, but approached the Governor. “What can he (Governor) do? Is it not misuse? They approached the Supreme Court. My obligation is to people of this state and the Constitution of the country. I am delaying (my decision) because I love this land. I am not acting in haste,” Kumar said.

Earlier on Thursday, the top court turned down the Speaker’s plea to give him more time to act on the resignations. In its earlier order in the morning, the apex court had directed the rebel MLAs to meet the Speaker by 6 PM on Thursday.

Soon after the order, Speaker Kumar approached the court expressing his inability to take a decision on the resignations in the course of the day. In response to the Speaker’s plea, the Supreme Court said it has already passed the order and Kumar’s application against it will be heard only on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Congress chief whip in Assembly, Ganesh Hukkeri, issued whip to party MLAs to attend Friday’s session to pass the finance bill and other matters, failing which absent MLAs will be disqualified under the anti defection law.

Earlier in the day, Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the rebel MLAs, said that the remaining legislators too can move the Supreme Court and secure the same order.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has ruled out stepping down from office. Talking to reporters, he said, “I have majority. No question of resigning.”

It is to be noted that while 16 MLAs- thirteen from the Congress and three from the JD(S) – had earlier resigned, two more put in their papers on Wednesday evening (July 10).

With this development, the effective strength of the combine has come down to 100 from 118. If the resignations are accepted the half-way mark will come down to 105, which in turn would pave the way for the BJP to stake its claim as it has 105 MLAs on its own.

The Karnataka cabinet too is scheduled to meet to take stock of the situation.