Karnataka Assembly Floor Test LATEST Updates: As the day’s proceedings progressed with the Congress and JD(S) dominating the debate on the trust vote in the House on Tuesday, Congress minister DK Shivakumar said, “It’s not the BJP leaders who have back-stabbed me, but the rebels in Mumbai who have. But, do not worry, they will do the same to all of you. They cannot become ministers I’m telling you.”
Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chief Siddaramaiah, Krishna Byre Gowda launched a blistering attack on the BJP over the impending floor test in the state Assembly.
Shivakumar said that he spoke to one of the rebel MLAs who said that “he wanted a ministerial berth”. “I told him that all of the rebels will be cremated by BJP leaders,” he added. He also said that the BJP had “destroyed” the political future of the rebel MLAs.
On the other hand Shivakumar also said that he was “hurt” by the rebel MLAs’ conduct. He referred to his visit to Mumbai when the MLAs had asked the police for protection from Shivakumar. “I was forced to stand on the street in Mumbai. I could have easily locked up rebel MLAs in a room, but I did not do it because of the friendship,” he added.
Congress leader and Karnataka minister DK Shivakumar slammed the BJP and state party chief BS Yeddyurappa over “untiring” efforts to conduct “Operation Kamala” in the state. He “congratulated” Yeddyurappa, whom he called the “star of Operation Lotus”. He also made a sarcastic comment on how Yeddyurappa “is not giving up”. He said, “You are making a seventh untiring attempt to bring down the government.”
“BJP has a mandate to run the country. You have an opportunity to change a system where horse-trading is the norm. Take the lead and we will be with you. End this murder of democracy,” he added.
Addressing the media outside the Supreme Court after the bench adjourned hearing petition of rebel Congress-JDS MLAs to Wednesday, counsel for rebel MLAs Mukul Rohatgi said, “I hope Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar realises what his position is, what the constitution has obliged him to do and the fact that the floor test is being adjourned day after day.”
Rohatgi further added that the 15 rebel MLAs of Congress and the JD(S) have the option of appearing in the proceedings or not because they were being issued a whip which is a basis of disqualification. “If floor test is not held today, we will press for an operative direction tomorrow,” said Rohatgi.
Karnataka unit of the BJP has hit out at chief minister HD Kumaraswamy for not being present at the Assembly. Taking to Twitter, the saffron party said, “Session for #KarnatakaTrustVote has begun But CM @hd_kumaraswamy is resting at his Taj West end hotel His message is clear He will continue to loot & waste tax payers money to the very last second as CM He & his party will be answerable to Kannadigas very soon.”
The Supreme Court had adjourned the hearing of the Independent MLAs plea seeking direction for the floor test to be conducted in the Karnataka Assembly, for Wednesday. The apex court said that it would hear the plea if the trust vote doesn’t take place on Tuesday.
The apex court is also likely to hear various petitions filed by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dinesh Gundurao in the coming week.
The Karnataka Congress MLAs have demanded that the trust vote be delayed by four weeks as the rebel MLAs have asked for the duration of four weeks before meeting the Karnataka Speaker, India Today reported.
Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar left the Assembly session to meet rebel MLAs’ lawyers at his chamber. The counsel for the Independent MLAs, R Shankar and H Nagesh, Mukul Rohtagi has arrived at the Supreme Court ahead of the likely hearing of the MLAs’ plea regarding the floor test on the HD Kumaraswamy-led government.
BJP’s J Shettar and KS Eshwarappa BJP voiced their discontent in the Karnatka Assembly as the House proceedings were delayed over the tardiness of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and other coalition leaders. Speaker KD Ramesh Kumar had called for the House to be convened at 10 am on Tuesday, after the day ended in ruckus on Monday.
Shettar accused the JD(S), Congress MLAs of taking the agenda of the confidence motion “lightly” and said, “They assured us that it (floor test) will be done today but they haven’t even come. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy sits in his chamber and clears files instead of sitting for discussions. They don’t have the mindset to prove their majority, they want to drag this. The people are disgusted with this. We cannot wait for people who are holed up in Mumbai.”
The Karnataka Assembly resumed operations on Tuesday in anticipation of the floor test on the HD Kumaraswamy-led government. However, even though Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and opposition BJP MLAs were present half an hour after the proceedings were scheduled to begin, Congress and JD(S) leaders were absent from the Assembly Session.
“The Session is already underway with BJP beginning discussions with Speaker,” News9 reported.
Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, who arrived at the Vidhana Soudha ahead of the floor test in the Assembly on Monday, responded to allegations that he was “intentionally” providing more time to coalition partners Congress and JD(S) to prove their majority. He was quoted by ANI as saying, “I convey my thanks to them. I pray for God to give them some sense.”
He also weighed in on the rebel MLAs’ letter seeking more time before meeting him, and said, “It is all related to court proceedings. It will all be dealt with in the court.”
The Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose resignations kickstarted the latest political crisis in Karnataka, have reportedly written to Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar asking for four weeks’ time before meeting with him. The Speaker has summoned them for a meeting on Tuesday on the disqualification notice issued by Congress leaders.
India Today reported that, in a letter to the Speaker, the MLAs have asked for the additional time to be able to “consult their lawyers”, and also stated that the minimum time available for MLAs in consideration for disqualification is seven days, as per the law.
The fate of the Congress-JD(S) government remained uncertain even on the third day of the debate on the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. After the ruling parties and BJP locked horns to debate on the motion, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar adjourned the proceedings till 10 am on Tuesday. “By 6 pm tomorrow (Tuesday), the floor test will be done,” he said.”
Right from the time when the proceedings began, Kumar repeatedly reminded the government to honour its commitment to complete the trust process Monday itself.
As the House resumed its sitting after an hour’s delay in the morning, the Speaker made it clear, “Everybody is watching us. Please don’t make me a scapegoat. Let us reach our goal,” stressing that the process should reach finality Monday.
Kumaraswamy had moved the confidence motion on Thursday to decide the fate of the Congress-JD(S) government, rocked by rebellion by a section of its MLAs threatening its survival.
The debate on the confidence motion prolonged to Friday, with the ruling coalition defying the two deadlines set by Governor Vajubhai Vala — to complete the process by 1.30 pm on Friday and later by the end of the day. The proceedings were adjourned till Monday after the Speaker extracted a commitment from the government that the process would be completed by Monday itself.
“It will not bring respect to the House or to me,” the Speaker made his position clear, implying that the trust vote should not be delayed further, amid reports that the ruling coalition had sought two more days time for voting.
“We are in public life. People are watching. In the name of discussion, if an opinion is created that we are wasting time, it won’t be right on my part or anybody else’s,” he said.
The Congress’ position was stated during the debate on the confidence motion by senior Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, who said that taking up the voting without the Speaker’s decision on the resignation issue would leave the confidence motion process without any sanctity.
“We are in an extraordinary situation… I request the Chair to decide on the resignation first. Or else, it will (confidence vote) will have no standing,” Gowda said, as the debate on the trust vote dragged on for the third day.
“Is the resignation voluntary and genuine. Aren’t they against democracy?” he asked.
Mounting an attack on the BJP-led government at the Centre, Gowda charged that there was a “systematic effort” to eliminate the “political opposition” in the country and the operation in Karnataka by BJP was part of such an attempt.
Alleging that there was an “undeclared emergency” in the country, Gowda told the BJP “the blood of democracy is on
your hands”. He also appealed to the rebel lawmakers to reconsider their stand.
The BJP suspects that the voting is being delayed by the Congress-JD(S) government only to buy time to win back the rebel MLAs, whose resignations have pushed it to the precipice.
Earlier, the governor had shot off two missives to the chief minister, setting deadlines on Friday to conclude the proceedings, expressing fear that the delay only gives rise to the scope for horse-trading.
Senior BJP leaders Jagadish Shettar and Madhuswamy told the Speaker that the business on confidence motion should be completed Monday itself and the debate should not be dragged on endlessly. The Speaker also on Monday gave a ruling that a legislature party leader has the right to issue a whip.
“Issuing whip is your right. Following them is left to the MLAs. If any complaint comes to me, I will follow rules and take a decision,” Kumar told Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, who had raised a point of order on the issue of whip in the light of the Supreme Court order last week.
When the confidence motion was moved on Thursday last, Siddaramaiah had pressed for deferring it till the Speaker decided on the issue of whip in the wake of the apex court’s verdict on the political crisis in the state.
Siddaramaiah had said that the 15 ruling coalition rebel MLAs were influenced by the apex court order that they can abstain from attending the Assembly proceedings and asked the Speaker to give a ruling on the fate of the whip issued by him as CLP leader.
“If this motion is taken up, then it will not be constitutional. It violates the constitutional provisions. I request you to defer it. I want your ruling on this point of order,” Siddaramaiah had told the Speaker.
Seeking to exert pressure on the government, BJP asked Kumaraswamy “to resign and go” if he has faith in the Constitution and people of the state. The BJP said Kumaraswamy himself moved the confidence motion, but the trust process was still prolonging.
Earlier, during Monday’s session, Kumar took a dig at the politics of defection in Karnataka. “I am worried about the people of Karnataka who have voted them to power. They will be left without an MLA. If the ruling party has documentary evidence, please submit it to me. If you do not have, then I’ll have to expunge it from the records,” he said.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah also said that while it is up to the Speaker to take a call on the confidence motion, his party has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court in the matter.
The House was adjourned for 10 minutes around 6.30 pm, but reconvened only after about two hours. During the adjournment, the Speaker held two meetings — one with BJP and JD(S) members and another with Kumaraswamy, his deputy G Parameshwara and other Congress-JD(S) members — in his chamber.
After the House reconvened, Kumaraswamy claimed that a fake resignation letter forged with his signature was doing rounds on social media. “I got information that I have tendered my resignation to the governor. I don’t know who is waiting to become chief minister. Someone has forged my signature and has spread the same on social media. I am shocked. It is a cheap tactic of politics.”
#WATCH Karnataka: A letter seen kept on the table of CM HD Kumaraswamy at Vidhana Soudha, appearing to be his resignation letter. Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) says that the letter is fake. (Video source: Karnataka assembly output) pic.twitter.com/KPJs4cr1Z9
— ANI (@ANI) July 22, 2019
A while back, Kumar also snapped at the Congress-JD(S) MLAs, who were raising slogans, ‘Save the Constitution’ in Vidhana Soudha. “I am ready to sit till 12 pm. Why are you doing like this? This is not right.”
Supreme Court to hear plea of two Independent MLAs tomorrow
The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a fresh plea of two Independent Karnataka MLAs — R Shankar and H Nagesh — seeking holding of the floor test “forthwith” in the state Assembly on the trust motion moved by Kumaraswamy.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Monday declined to hear during the day the plea. “On mentioning, the matter is taken on board. List the matter tomorrow (Tuesday) before the appropriate bench as per the roster,” the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said in its order.
The two MLAs, who withdrew support to the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka, had moved the top court seeking a direction to the Kumaraswamy government for conducting a floor test in the state Assembly on or before 5 pm on Monday.
The Independent MLAs’ petition came days after Kumaraswamy and state Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao moved the top court accusing the governor of interfering with the Assembly’s proceedings during the debate on trust vote.
Kumaraswamy and Rao had filed separate applications after the deadlines set by the governor to conclude the proceedings of the confidence motion were not met.
They had also sought a clarification of the 17 July order of the apex court by which the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs were granted relief that they cannot be compelled to participate in the ongoing Assembly proceedings.
In Karnataka, the Congress-JD(S) government slumped into a minority earlier in July following the resignation of several dissident MLAs. Sixteen MLAs from the ruling coalition, including thirteen Congress and three JD(S) MLAs, have tendered their resignations. One of the rebel MLAs Ramalinga Reddy took back his resignation last week, after holding talks with the Congress leadership.
On Friday, the Assembly failed to meet the deadline set by Governor Vajubhai Vala to complete the trust vote. After that, Kumaraswamy moved the Supreme Court challenging the governor’s directive to the government saying it was in violation of well-settled law laid down by the court.
The state Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member Assembly is 113. The ruling combine’s strength is 117, besides the Speaker.
With the support of the two Independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 225-member House, including the nominated MLA and Speaker.
If the resignations of 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and three from JDS) are accepted or if they stay away, the ruling coalition’s tally will plummet to 101, reducing the government to a minority.
With inputs from agencies
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Karnataka Assembly Floor Test LIVE Updates: Not BJP, rebel MLAs backstabbed me, says DK Shivakumar; Congress dominates debate – Firstpost