Amid BJP’s Karnataka-wide protests, Siddaramaiah to meet Speaker
Bengaluru: As the opposition raised slogans in the Lok Sabha that the BJP is trying to topple the JD-S-Congress Karnataka government, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sought disqualification of rebel MLAs for ‘anti-party’ activities.
In Parliament, the opposition staged a walkout protesting the developments in the state as Siddaramaiah said here: “BJP has used money power to poach our MLAs.”
Speaking at a press conference, the Congress leader said the party will sit-in on a one-hour token dharna and then meet Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar and also carry out a Cabinet reshuffle.
As the state politics continued to be in a turmoil for the last couple of days, with hectic parleys by the ruling alliance in intra and inter mode, BJP’s Shobha Karandlaje said only the Governor could take a call in case the crisis further worsens.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar has listed the matter while rebel MLAs skipped a crucial Congress Legislature Party meeting at the Vidhana Soudha earlier in the day.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was to stage protests across Karnataka during the day demanding Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s resignation as his coalition government lost majority following the resignation of 14 Congress-JD-S legislators and two Ministers, a party official said.
“Our leaders and cadres will hold demonstrations in all the district headquarters across the state for Kumaraswamy’s resignation, as he has no moral right to continue after the MLAs of the ruling allies resigned and his government has been reduced to minority in the Assembly,” BJP G Madhusudana said.
Of the 14 lawmakers who resigned, 11 belong to the Congress and three Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S). While 10 Congress MLAs resigned on July 6, one (Anand Singh) resigned on July 1.
The 11 rebel Congress MLAs skipped the party’s legislature meeting. “None of the rebel legislators turned up for the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting despite giving them a notice on July 7 to be present at it in the Vidhan Soudha (state Secretariat),” party spokesman Ravi Gowda said.
Of the party’s 78 legislators, Gowda said about 60 of them were at the meeting while five to six had informed the CLP leader (Siddaramaiah) in advance of their inability to attend.
The rebel lawmakers who resigned and skipped the meeting are Ramalinga Reddy, S T Somashekar, Bayrati Basavaraj, Munirathna, Pratapgauda Patil, B C Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Shivram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumatahalli, S N Subba Reddy and Anand Singh.
The others absent legislators were Roshan Baig, K Sudhakar, Housing Minister M T B Nagaraj and B K Sangameshwar.
Baig, who represents the Shivajinagar Assembly seat in the city centre, was suspended on June 19 from Congress for his alleged anti-party activities.
Of the 12 rebels, 10 of them flew to Mumbai on July 6 after submitting their resignations to the secretary of Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar in his absence and meeting state Governor Vajubhai Vala at the Raj Bhavan here.
Reddy, who represents the BTM Layout constituency in Bengaluru, remained at home in the city’s southern suburb.
Small-Scale Industries Minister and Independent H Nagesh and Municipalities Administration Minister and KPJP legislator R Shankar resigned from the Cabinet and withdrew support to the 13-month coalition government on Monday.
“If the Speaker (K R Ramesh Kumar) accepts the resignations of all the rebels on Tuesday, Kumaraswamy will have no option but face the floor test for a trial of strength to prove if his government has majority,” Madhusudan said.
In the 225-member Assembly, the Congress has 79 legislators excluding the Speaker, JD-S 39, BJP 105, while one each from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and Independent.
As the nominated member from the Anglo-Christian community does not have voting rights, the half-way mark (113) is required for simple majority.
With the Independent and KPJP member withdrawing support, the government’s strength is reduced to 116, as BSP member N Mahesh is an ally of the JD-S, three more than the halfway mark.
In the event of the Speaker accepting the resignations of all the 14 Congress-JD-S rebels, the government’s strength will reduce to 101 from 115 (78+37) and that of Assembly to 211, with 106 as the halfway mark for simple majority.
The Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah has urged the rebels to attend the CLP meeting he has conveyed during the day ahead of the 10-day monsoon session of the state legislature from Friday.