Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Sunday (July 28) disqualified 14 rebel MLAs who had resigned earlier this month and brought down the HD Kumaraswamy government on July 23, but Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa expressed confidence on proving his majority in the House on Monday (July 29).
Two days back, the Speaker had disqualified 3 other MLAs. Interestingly, he has ruled that the disqualified MLAs cannot fight elections until the expiry of the term of the 15th Assembly, that is, till 2023.
With 17 disqualifications, the total in 224-member House has come down to 206 and the majority now stands at 104.
BJP, which has 105 seats on its own, has the support of independent MLA H Nagesh, and so is placed well above the majority mark.
“On Monday, hundred per cent, I will prove the majority,” Yediyurappa told reporters in Bengaluru.
He said he would also pass the Finance Bill prepared by the previous Congress-JD(S) government, as the vote on account of the previous government ends on July 31.
The finance bill (appropriation bill) needs to be passed ‘urgently’ as otherwise “we will not be able to draw funds even to pay salaries,” he said.
“So tomorrow after moving the confidence motion, we will first take up the finance bill. I have not even changed a comma or full stop in it. I will be tabling the finance billprepared by the (previous) Congress-JD(S) government,” he added.
The Lingayat strongman on July 26 staked claimed to form the government after the Congress-JD(S) government headed by Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote in the Assembly on July 23.
Congress leaders have been pressing for the disqualifications with an intent to punish those who betrayed the party.
“The Speaker’s Office issued an emergency notice of three days to all the respondents (resigned MLAs). But the MLAs, through their advocates, sought four weeks’ time, which this office rejected,” Ramesh Kumar said.
The rebels are likely to move Supreme Court to challenge the Speaker’s ruling. They could not be immediately reached for comments.
While the Congress hailed the decision of the Speaker, BJP leaders criticised it and accused the Speaker of being partisan.
“The Speaker’s decision is supreme. Since the matter will go to Supreme Court or High Court, I will not comment on it. But he should have done it after speaking to the respondents. Now it creates an unnecessary doubt in us,” Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said.
The Speaker responded saying he has done his job and people were free to express their opinion and he will not answer all of them.
Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah said the Speaker’s decision was for the opportunistic politics in the state and welcomed it saying it is a real victory for democracy.
BJP may move motion against Speaker
Meanwhile, the BJP said it was contemplating bringing a no-confidence motion against Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, if he does not voluntarily vacate the post, according to party sources.
The message has been discreetly conveyed to Kumar to give up the post, which is conventionally held by a member from the ruling party, the sources said, ahead of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa moving the confidence motion in the Assembly on Monday to prove his majority.
“We will move the no-confidence motion against the Speaker if he does not resign,” a senior state BJP leader said requesting anonymity.