Kumaraswamy govt on the brink, crucial test today

Karnataka, The Federal, English news website
Despite pressure from the opposition to resign, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is still hopeful that his government will survive the political calamity. Photo: PTI

Teetering on the brink of collapse, the Karnataka government has its task cut out for Friday. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will have to survive the first day of the Monsoon session.

The BJP has assured the session will be stormy. Speaking to The Federal, BJP leader K S Eshwarappa said, “We have 107 seats with the support of two Independent MLAs. The Congress-JD(S) had only 100. There will be disruptions in the House and it is unlikely that the Finance bill will be passed. Let us see how they win.”

However, the party has said that it will not push for a trust vote but “expose the coalition government that it considered dead.”

The Congress-JD(S) coalition’s 118 members is now 100 and effectively the majority mark has dropped from 113 to 105. The BJP has 105 members and the support of the two Independents, which takes its tally to 107.

Meanwhile, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar will present his application to CJI Ranjan Gogoi on Friday. The Speaker had sought time to examine if the resignations were coerced or voluntary. Kumar said it was his constitutional duty and “obligation to the state” to verify the resignations.

The agenda as norm is to pay tributes to personalities who passed away during Session recess. This includes decorated actor, director and playwright Girish Karnad.

Also Read: Will have to examine if resignations are genuine: K’taka Speaker

“I have video recorded the proceedings (of the meeting with rebel MLAs) in my office and I will attach it with my submission to the Supreme Court. I will have to convince myself before taking a decision. I cannot act in haste. I am not obligated to anyone but for the aspirations of people of this state and for the Constitution,” the Speaker said in a press conference on Thursday evening.

The session will be chaired by deputy speaker Krishna Reddy as Kumar has given time to the rebel MLAs for individual meetings to be “convinced” if the resignations were genuine and voluntary.

“I am nowhere responsible for the political crisis in Karnataka nor am I interested in the outcome of it,” said Kumar citing Karnataka Legislature Rules.

Also Read: Are mass resignations of Karnataka MLAs constitutional?

Congress issues whip

Meanwhile, the Congress party issued a whip to attend Friday’s session and vote in favour of the party and the coalition government, failing which, rebel MLAs will be disqualified under the anti-defection law.

13 Congress MLAs and 3 of JD(S) MLAs had resigned so far. While the Speaker Ramesh initially rejected 8 resignations, they were resubmitted on July 11.

Since the whip has been issued six days after the resignations of its 13 MLAs, legality of the whip will be in question now.

“We submitted the resignations before the party issued whip. So we are not violating any rule,” said rebel Congress MLA K Sudhakar.

Earlier in the day, Kumaraswamy expressed confidence that the government will survive and he was ready to face a no-confidence motion if any moved by the BJP.

Also read: Rebels or kingmakers: MLAs who may decide Karnataka government’s fate