Bengaluru: Even as the Karnataka crisis seems to drag on for days, reports suggest that the alliance government may be asked to prove its majority in the Assembly by next week. Earlier on Tuesday, the Speaker had refused to accept the resignations of the 13 Congress and JDS rebel MLAs. (Also read: ‘BJP Appoints CMs in Bars, Restaurants,’ Says Ghulam Nabi Azad)
According to reports, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy could be asked to prove its majority on July 17 by Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. Kumar said the resignations of eight MLAs were not in the prescribed format and the other five needed to explain why their action did not fall under the Anti-Defection law.
The legislators have now been given till July 21 to re-submit their resignations and explain reasons for quitting, he said.
One of the MLAs, Congress’ Ramalinga Reddy, is said to be the key among the rebels and his daughter Soumya Reddy, also a Congress legislator, met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Tuesday. Of the 13 legislators who have tendered their resignations, ten belong to the Congress and three to the JD-S.
The Speaker said in Bengaluru that on scrutiny, resignations of only five lawmakers were found to be in the proper format. “As the remaining eight resignations of legislators of both the parties are not in the right format, I have given them time till July 21 to re-submit them and explain reasons for quitting from their respective Assembly constituencies,” Kumar said.
“I have summoned all the legislators of both the parties (Congress and JD-S) to meet me on July 12, July 15 and July 21, as their resignations are faulty and explanations are not in accordance with the law under section 202 of the Anti-Defection Act,” he said.
Of the five legislators whose resignations were in order, Anand Singh, Ramalinga Reddy and Pratapgouda Patil are of the Congress while N Narayana Gowda and K Gopalaiah are of the JDS. “I have asked Singh, Patil and Gowda to meet me on July 12 to explain their resignations and ensure they were voluntary and genuine as per the law,” Kumar said.
The 13-month-old JD-S-Congress government has plunged into a crisis because of a spree of resignations, for which the ruling coalition blames the BJP.
Senior Congress leaders held a meeting in Bengaluru earlier in the day after which they alleged that the BJP had been responsible for the resignations. After the meeting, Karnataka Congress leader Zameer Ahmad said, “The BJP has kidnapped our MLAs and is keeping them at gunpoint. Their mobile phones have been seized. They’re not even allowed to talk to their family members. If set free, the MLAs will return to us. Four-five people each are keeping a watch on them.”
On its part, the BJP, which has held all along that it has nothing to do with the developments, has clearly had enough of its earlier planned wait and watch policy and plans to strike now. Party MLA Arvind Limbavali said, “A high-level BJP delegation is going to meet Governor of Karnataka at 1 PM (on Wednesday). We want immediate intervention of the Governor. We will decide further course of action after tomorrow’s meetings with Governor and Speaker.”
Before that, he said, “All BJP MLAs will protest in front of Vidhan Soudha at 11.30 AM tomorrow demanding Kumaraswamy’s resignation.”
The echoes of the trouble brewing in Karnataka could be heard in the national capital as well. While Congress MPs walked out of Lok Sabha in protest against the Karnataka crisis, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Karnataka mein jo kuch ho raha hai yeh Congress ke apne ghar ka mamla hai, par yeh apne ghar ko sambhal nahi pa rahe hain, balki Parliament ke is Lower House ko yeh disturb karne ki koshish kar rahe hain (What is happening in Karnataka is Congress’ internal matter. While they’re not able to set their own house in order, they are disturbing the Lower House of Parliament as well).”
In another interesting development, the dissident MLAs who had left for Goa from Mumbai on Monday evening ended up moving into a Powai hotel. They plan to stay on for another two days, said a report.