Karnataka: Congress expels 14 lawmakers who brought down coalition
On Tuesday, Congress expelled 14 of its lawmakers who were responsible for bringing down the coalition government in Karnataka. The JD(S)-Congress government, led by HD Kumaraswamy, was jolted after 18 legislators, most from Congress, resigned. Earlier, former speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified the rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law, ruining their hopes of joining the newly formed BJP government. Here's what went down.
The resignations of MLAs pushed the 14-month-old coalition government into a minority. When Kumaraswamy appeared for trust vote on Tuesday, last week, he lacked the numbers. His coalition could get only 99 votes. Notably, in the 225-member Assembly, 20 legislators weren't present for the trust vote. Subsequently, Kumaraswamy tendered his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala, paving way for BS Yediyurappa to form the government.
After resigning, the MLAs flew to Mumbai and remained sequestered at a hotel for almost 20 days. Both Congress and JD(S) scrambled to convince them to take back the resignations. To recall, DK Shivakumar, seen as Congress' hands-on man in the state, went to Mumbai to speak to them. However, the MLAs refused to meet him and Shivakumar was also detained by Mumbai police.
Despite repeated efforts, the MLAs didn't appear for the floor test, miffing Congress and JD(S). The parties had said they would take strong action, and they did. The MLAs whom Congress expelled are Mahesh Kumathalli, Srimanth B. Patil, Ramesh Jarakiholi, Prathap Gouda Patil, Shivram Mahabaleshwar Hebbar, BC Patil, R Shankar, Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, BA Basavaraj, ST Somashekar, Munirathna, Roshan Baig, and MTB Nagaraj.
To recall, Ramesh, who resigned from speaker post after Yediyurappa cleared the floor test, had also disqualified the MLAs. On Sunday, 11 Congress legislators, namely- Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, Shivram Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Byrati Basavaraj, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, Munirathna, K Sudhakar and MTB Nagaraj and Shrimant Patil, were disqualified. Ramesh had noted the resignations weren't voluntary.
Interestingly, the MLAs have been disqualified till the end of the current Assembly term, i.e. 2023. This means they will not be able to contest by-polls. When Ramesh had announced his decision, the MLAs had said they would approach the Supreme Court.