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

rebel MLAs, The Federal, English news website, KR Ramesh Kumar, Speaker
Rebel MLA Gopalaiah arrives to meet the Speaker. Photo: PTI

The political drama in Karnataka, saw many twists and turns on Thursday, with the Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar saying that the MLAs, who met him at the Vidhana Soudha in the evening had given their resignations in the “right format”.

“The MLAs had come, they said they want to resign, I said they can give… they asked me to accept it. It cannot be like that I will have to see whether it is genuine or voluntary and be convinced,” Kumar said after meeting the rebel legislators.

Asserting he will abide by rules, the Speaker said he will take a “just decision which may be of convenience to some and inconvenience to some.” Meanwhile, sources said the MLAs were returning to Mumbai.

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Kumar said the proceedings of today have been videographed, and will be sent to the Supreme Court Registrar General. The Speaker also said he has asked MLAs some questions and they have answered them.

As per the Karnataka Legislature Rules, intended resignation should be “in perfect format,” he said. “Unfortunately, eight of the 13 letters that reached my office (last week) were not in the format,” the Speaker said. “MLAs have submitted resignation in right format now..I will have to examine whether resignations are voluntary and genuine,” he added.

Kumar also insisted that he was neither responsible for the current political situation nor its outcome.

Meanwhile, the Congress chief whip in Assembly, Ganesh Hukkeri, has 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.

As many as 10 Karnataka rebel MLAs, who were camping in Mumbai, arrived here by two special flights, hours after the Supreme Court allowed them to meet the Assembly Speaker to convey their decision to resign. The MLAs boarded a luxury bus from the HAL airport and proceeded towards the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat.

Also Read: Are mass resignations of Karnataka MLAs constitutional?

The top court earlier asked the speaker to decide “forthwith” on Thursday about the resignation of 10 rebel Congress-JD(S) coalition MLAs, allowing them to meet him at 6

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the decision taken by the Speaker has to be intimated on Friday when the court takes up the matter again.

The resignation of 16 MLAs (13 from Congress and three from JDS) has pushed the coalition government to the brink of collapse. Two independent MLAs have also withdrawn support to the coalition government.

Meanwhile, the JD(S) too on Thursday said that the party has approached the Assembly
Speaker seeking disqualification of three of its legislators, who are among the 16 MLAs who have resigned.

The three MLAs against whom JD(S) has sought disqualification are A H Vishwanath (Hunsur), K C Narayanagowda (K R Pet) and K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout).

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However, Speaker Ramesh Kumar said he cannot take cognisance of the JD(S)s petition to disqualify the legislators as it was not filed in the proper format. The party has sought their disqualification for indulging in “anti-party” activities and for giving up membership voluntarily in the interest of justice.

“Yesterday I have filed a petition against three JD(S) MLAs seeking action under anti-defection law. Today I have submitted documents to Speakers office,” JD(S) spokesperson
Ramesh Babu said in a statement, adding that he was accompanied by advocates.

However, the Speaker said he cannot take cognisance of the JD(S)s application to disqualify MLAs as it was not filed in the proper format, and those who have submitted it were neither MLAs nor party leaders in the House.

The MLAs had addressed the media making serious allegations against the JD(S) and the coalition government, he said, adding they had acted against the directions of the party and had failed to attend the JD(S) legislature party meeting without any valid reasons.

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