Karnataka govt gets breather, speaker to take 6 days to rule on resignations | India News


BENGALURU: The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka got breather on Tuesday as Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar decided to take at least six days to look into the resignations of 13 MLAs. Among them, 10 are from Congress and three belong to JD(S).
“Every step I take will become history, so I can’t be committing a mistake… I need to be convinced that the resignations are voluntary and genuine,” the Speaker said.
The move came just in time for the government, which suffered yet another blow with the resignation of suspended Congress MLA Roshan Baig. Emerging from the Speaker’s office after putting in his papers around noon, Baig said he was not joining the rebels. “I am not going to Mumbai or Delhi. Being the chairman of the state Haj committee, I am going to the airport to oversee arrangements for the pilgrims,” he said.
Baig’s resignation tipped the scale further against the ruling combine.
With the support of the two independents and the lone BSP MLA, BJP would have 108 legislators in the 224-member Karnataka House, where the halfway mark is 113. Should the resignations of the 14 MLAs, including Baig, be accepted, the Congress-JD(S) tally would be reduced to 102. When the coalition was intact, it had 119 members, including the Speaker — Congress 79, JD(S) 37, Independents 2 and BSP 1.
Scrutinising the resignations, the Speaker said only five of the 13 letters submitted on July 6 were in the prescribed format. These belonged to R Ramalinga Reddy, K Gopalaiah, Anand Singh, K Narayan Gowda and Pratap Gouda Patil. The remaining eight MLAs, he said, would have to resubmit their resignation letters.
The speaker said governor Vajubhai R Vala had sent him two letters on the political developments and expressed confidence that he would uphold constitutional norms. He also revealed that the governor had suggested that he take up the resignations at the earliest.
“The rules clearly say only if the Speaker is convinced that the resignations are voluntary and genuine, then can he accept them,” he said, adding, “If everything happens through postal correspondence, then I’m not required at all.” The reference was to some resignations that were reportedly posted to him. According to House rules, the resignations have to be in a certain format, addressed to the Speaker and handed over.
The speaker said he had written to the five MLAs whose resignations are in the correct format to appear before him in two batches — on July 12 and July 15.
“I have to make a conscious decision. Every step I take will become history, so I can’t be committing a mistake. Future generations should not look at me like an accused. Therefore, I will consider the feelings of the general public, provisions of Constitution, the rule book and the spirit and interpretation of law,” he said.
Seizing the opportunity, Congress started efforts to save the government. Party’s troubleshooter DK Shivakumar is said to be leading the attempts to get in touch with the rebels to persuade them to withdraw their resignations and accept cabinet berths as a “return gift”.
Shivakumar and JD(S) MLA KM Shivalinge Gowda are set to leave for Mumbai on Wednesday to meet the rebel MLAs. “If one person returns, many more will follow. We are confident that will happen because of the delay,” said a senior Congress leader.
Help has also started arriving from Delhi. The AICC deputed senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal to Bengaluru for “political and legal management” of the crisis. Party leaders have already moved the Speaker’s office, seeking disqualification of 10 of the rebels under the anti-defection law. Former minister Ramalinga Reddy was spared from the disqualification plea as the party said he was not planning to join BJP.
On the other hand, BJP reiterated that CM HD Kumaraswamy should resign as he had lost majority. State BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said they would stage a dharna at the Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday — countering one by Congress members on Tuesday — seeking the ouster of the government.
BJP MLA and former minister Basavaraj Bommai said there was scarcely any scope for the Speaker to not accept the resignations of the MLAs. Besides, when the MLAs had resigned, how could you disqualify them, he asked.

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