With 13 MLAs of the Congress and the JD(S) tendering their resignation from the Karnataka Assembly, all eyes are now on Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, who has to take a call on further action. Since the future of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government lies in his hands, Kumar on Tuesday said that he cannot afford to make any mistakes as any step he takes will become history.

So far, the BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the half-way mark is 113, and should the resignations of the 13 MLAs be accepted, it will reduce the tally of the coalition to 103.

Asked whether the resignations submitted to his office were acceptable, Kumar hinted the MLAs might have to personally hand them in and told reporters, “Then I am not required at all. If everything can happen through postal correspondence, I am not required at all.”

The MLAs — along with two independent MLAs — are said to be camping somewhere in Maharashtra and have most likely switched their loyalty to the BJP.

Ahead of the assembly session from July 12, the decision of the speaker, who also has a vote, on the resignation letters holds great value as it will decide the future of the shaky coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy.

Asserting that he will go through the rule book, the speaker said he will consult seniors about the developments, whether the resignations can be accepted or was a different course of action needed.

“I have to make a conscious decision. Every step I take will become history, so I can’t be committing a mistake. Future generations should not look at me like an accused,” Kumar added.

Questioned on whether the Congress legal cell had written to him that the resignations should not be accepted, Kumar said he has not seen the letter yet.

“I left office on Saturday. I came only today. Whichever cell has written, I have to go through it now,” he told journalists at the Vidhana Soudha.

“Whether I will decide it today or in the next two hours, doing it two years later These are all irrelevant questions to me. I have to respond to the sentiments of the people.”

Kumar added that he must understand the helplessness of the people of the state, the feeling of general public, look at the provisions of the constitution, the rule book and the spirit and interpretation of the law.

“Then I must act as a man with clear conscience and I am going to do that.”

The speaker said he held an office which was responsible and important.

“I come from a very ordinary background but I am occupying a very important place. I cannot be doing injustice. I cannot bring dishonour and disgrace to the office I hold,” Kumar said.

As questions mount on the future of the government in Karnataka, the BJP said there was every likelihood of the process of accepting the resignation being delayed through some ulterior ways.

Shiggaon BJP MLA Basavaraj Bommai said there was scarcely any scope of not accepting the resignations of the MLAs.

“When the MLAs have resigned, how can you disqualify them? Hence, there is no question of rejecting the resignation letter. The copy of the letter submitted to the governor is in accordance with the Constitution. It is only a futile attempt of Congress and JD(S) to bypass the constitution to stay in power,” Bommai told reporters.

The BJP MLA, however, expressed his faith in the speaker and said that he would take a decision in accordance with the law.

The 13 dissident MLAs–10 of the Congress and 3 of the JD(S)– submitted their resignations to the speaker’s office on Saturday.

With Inputs From PTI