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‘Will not buckle under pressure’: Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar – Hindustan Times

Karnataka assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar is likely to play a key role in deciding how a political crisis caused by the resignation of 16 ruling coalition legislators will pan out. In an interview with Hindustan Times, a combative Kumar said he would be very strict in dealing with the rebel MLAs and try to set an example. Edited excerpts:

When can CM HD Kumaraswamy move a trust vote?

He has to communicate to me and he has already done so in the business advisory committee. Unfortunately, the opposition leader [BS Yeddyurappa] was not present. I cannot do it unilaterally… I suggested that the chief minister bring it up on Monday.

Are you under pressure because of the confidence vote?

No, I am relieved to a great extent. The chief minister volunteered so now the onus is on the speaker to schedule the time and the opposition to take the opportunity.

What is the status of the disqualification petition the Congress moved againsttwo rebel MLAs?

There are a lot of judgments and a lot of controversies in each state and each case. I have been trying to study this and I have requested the assistance of some legal experts as well…

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What is your response to allegations that you have delayed the process of accepting resignations?

The whole activity began on July 6 and it is only July 12. There are issues that have been kept pending in this country for years. They gave me the resignation letters on July 6 and I was not in office when they came. They came late and I did not know they were coming, but they go to the Supreme Court and make a sworn statement that I am not in the office and I am not available to them. Is this fair?

What is your opinion on the MLAs approaching the Court before seeking an appointment with you?

You see they are all acting upon political guidance. I don’t know the compulsions under which they are caught. It’s all right. The Supreme Court is the highest wing of judiciary… I respect the Supreme Court.

You have said there is no rule enforcing a timeline on such matters. Do you feel the apex court is forcing your hand?

The Supreme Court’s language is very clear. It said to {me to} meet the 10 MLAs who are coming…It said if they intend to give their resignations, please take them. Then, it said to make some decision forthwith. They don’t say accept or reject it. And they said whatever decision you take kindly keep us informed in the remaining portion of the day. I have done all three.

In terms of the disqualification petition, you said on Tuesday that MLAs Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli failed to appear before you in the matter. Will you call them for another hearing?

No. That hearing is over. I have to go through the entire material submitted to me by the petitioner [Congress] and take decision subsequently. They have not come and I cannot help that.

Did you reject the resignation petitions because they were not handwritten?

Yes, 100%. Why do you frame a rule and prescribe a format?…I did not reject. I would put it the other way around — you are a clever member and you don’t want to resign but want to pretend that you are resigning and you give a resignation letter …

You said the onus is on the MLAs to convince you that their resignations are voluntary and genuine…

What is genuine and voluntary? You don’t seek time, you submit papers that are not in order, you go to the SC, you go and stay in Mumbai and go by a chartered flight… When these things happened…you still want me to believe that it is genuine and voluntary?

If MLAs do not turn up for the appointments you have given them, does it give you grounds to reject their resignations?

The law will take its course without any consideration as to who the person is, what the situation is. I am very rigid, I will not be flexible. People of this country are honest and pure, it is we who are the culprits. The flame in me is burning! I will not allow it to die. Let me see what happens, I am not going to buckle under pressure.

First Published:
Jul 13, 2019 06:29 IST

‘Will not buckle under pressure’: Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar – Hindustan Times

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