#KarnatakaFloorTest: Governor asks Kumaraswamy to prove majority by 1:30pm
It's D-day for Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who has been directed by Governor Vajubhai Vala to prove his coalition's majority on the floor of the assembly by 1:30 PM on Friday. The floor test, scheduled to take place on Thursday, was deferred on speaker KR Ramesh's orders as allies Congress and JD(S) sought "clarity" on resignations of MLAs. Here are all the details.
Kumaraswamy's government is hanging by a thread after 18 legislators resigned. By not accepting their resignations immediately, Ramesh gave a window to Congress-JD(S) to "persuade" the rebels. However, the MLAs approached the Supreme Court, which gave its verdict on Wednesday. The apex court said Ramesh can decide on resignation when he wants, but MLAs can't be forced to attend the floor test.
Notably, the numbers don't favor Kumaraswamy. In the last two weeks, 16 legislators- 13 from Congress and three from JD(S) have resigned, while two independents have withdrawn support. Before this crisis, the coalition's strength in the 224-member assembly was 118. If the resignations are accepted, it will become 100, giving an edge to BJP as it already has 105 legislators and support of two independents.
As he moved the motion for a trust vote, Kumaraswamy accused BJP of creating hurdles in governance. When BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa stood up to say the trust vote should be completed in a day, Kumaraswamy taunted by saying, "He seems to be in a hurry". During the debate, Congress protested over Shrimant Patil, who "slipped" from Bengaluru resort where lawmakers were staying and was found at a Mumbai hospital.
Sensing delay in trust vote, BJP met Vala who asked the speaker to conclude the floor test by the end of the day. However, when Ramesh remained undecided on resignations, the Governor stepped in again and wrote a letter to Kumaraswamy. In the letter, also copied to Ramesh, Vala said "prima facie" it looks like the coalition has lost the confidence of the House.
"The fact that 15 members have met me and tendered their resignations and coupled with two members have withdrawn their support and other attendant circumstances do prima facie indicate that you have lost majority/confidence of the House," the letter read.
Vala also said he hadn't intervened in the matter until now as the motion was moved. But since the House was adjourned without completing the floor test, he was forced to step up. "This cannot go on in a democratic set-up governed by the Constitution of India," Vala's letter read. Meanwhile, Congress' Shivakumar, seen as the party's troubleshooter, confirmed that Vala's letter was received.
"The Speaker is conducting the House, he will have to give MLAs an opportunity to discuss, at such time friends from BJP are trying to put pressure through the Governor's office," Shivakumar reportedly said.
The political drama in the state reached another level after Yeddyurappa declared that BJP MLAs won't leave the assembly to protest the delay in the trust vote. "There has been a breach of the constitutional framework," Yeddyurappa said. On Yeddyurappa's command, members of the saffron party had dinner at the Vidhan Soudha, and then brought their beddings and nightwear to sleep inside the House.