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Thursday test for Kumaraswamy and Congress

State BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa confident that the end of the coalition government was near

  • Published 16.07.19, 4:27 AM
  • Updated 16.07.19, 4:27 AM
  • 2 mins read
HD Kumaraswamy (PTI)

The Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition government in Karnataka will take a floor test on Thursday in what could end the current crisis that has stalled governance in the state.

Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar has agreed to conduct the vote at 11am on July 18, more than a fortnight after the flurry of resignations by members of the ruling coalition began on July 1.

The development came on a day some of the rebel Congress lawmakers — now lodged in a hotel in Mumbai — filed a police complaint citing threats from their party and refusing to meet any senior leader.

The BJP, which has been eyeing power in the state, had wanted the vote to be taken on Monday itself since 18 lawmakers, including two Independents, have ditched the Congress-JDS alliance. But Kumar fixed the vote for Thursday, which chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy wanted, and also because the Supreme Court is set to hear on Tuesday a case filed by 11 of the rebel MLAs.

The rebels — five more have been impleaded since — have sought judicial intervention to make the Speaker accept their resignations without any delay.

The Speaker has already clarified that he would go only by the rulebook and needed to examine if the resignations were voluntary and genuine.

State BJP president B.S. Yeddyurappa was confident that the end of the coalition government was near. “The coalition government will fall with the trust vote,” the former chief minister, seen as his party’s likely choice for another stint at the helm, told reporters.

“There was a BAC (business advisory committee) meeting (on Monday) and we gave a letter to the Assembly secretary for a no-confidence motion today. But the chief minister said he wanted the trust vote to be taken on Thursday. So we agreed.”

The resignation drama began on July 1 when two Congress lawmakers handed in their letters. Eight more Congress MLAs and three JDS lawmakers resigned on July 13. The exits continued over the next few days taking the total to 18, including two Independents who would not come under the anti-defection law.

Once the Speaker accepts their resignations, the government’s strength would fall from 119 to 101. In the House of 224, the BJP has 105 members, enough to form the next government as the halfway mark would then come down to 104. The Independents too are likely to support the BJP.

All the BJP legislators have been sequestered at a holiday resort where they would remain till Thursday, Yeddyurappa said.

State Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao appeared confident that the government would win the trust vote. “They (the rebel lawmakers) are all our senior members. Some of them have been with us for 30-odd years. Besides, they have not resigned from the party,” he said.

The rebel legislators have been saying that they have not left the Congress but had only resigned as MLAs.

Sources said the Congress would send some of its senior leaders to Mumbai to meet the rebels ahead of the trust vote and that chief minister Kumaraswamy was ready to go to Mumbai along with the chairman of the coalition coordination committee, P.C. Siddaramaiah.

There was also talk about the Congress sending central leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad for the final mission to win back the rebels.

But the 14 rebels based in Mumbai, including the three JDS MLAs and two Independents, lodged a complaint with Powai police station citing threats from the Congress.

The lawmakers in their complaint said they had “absolutely no intention” to meet any leader and sought police help to stop them.

They had sent a similar complaint earlier when Congress troubleshooter D.K. Shivakumar had travelled to Mumbai to meet them on July 10. Shivakumar had to return after waiting for eight hours outside the hotel in Mumbai.