New Delhi: Two days after the fall of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in Karnataka, state assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday disqualified three rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law of the 10th schedule.

After the end of the high-drama trust vote on Tuesday, enormous suspense was built as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in state waited for the Speaker’s decision on the 15 MLAs who had resigned earlier this month.

Addressing a press conference, the Speaker stated that the resignations belonging to two Congress MLAs, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumatalli, and one Independent, R Shankar, were “not voluntary and genuine”.

“I wasn’t in Bengaluru then and when I got back, I was told about the resignations. After that, they went to SC and told the apex court that I was missing,” he said.

As a result, they were disqualified with immediate effect until the term of this House is complete, i.e., till May 2023. Kumar added that they would be barred from contesting even if there is a by-election on these seats.

At the end of the meeting, Karnataka Assembly Speaker insisted that he needs time to announce his conclusion on the remaining MLAs. “I will pronounce my decision in the next few days,” Kumar said.

To what appeared as quite uncharacteristic of the BJP, the party members were in no rush to form government in Karnataka and were waiting for clarity on the resignations of the MLAs.

The Speaker’s decision plays a crucial role in deciding the government formation because, without his approval of the resignations, the strength of the Assembly will remain 225, raising the majority mark to 113.

The disqualifications in today’s meeting bring down the strength of the house to 222, lowering the majority mark to 112. The BJP currently stands at 105 votes which will prove a minority government, something the party is not very keen on. In such a scenario Karnataka could be heading for a short spell of President’s Rule.

Meanwhile, Congress members hailed Kumar’s decision saying, “Unsatisfied lawmakers who have gone to the lotus party are in the mud. BJP is guilty of immoral Operation Lotus. There will be punishment for those who betray democracy.”