Bengaluru: The Karnataka Assembly was adjourned on Thursday without the much-awaited floor test. The proceedings were adjourned by Karnataka Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar at 6:00 PM amidst ruckus between the ruling Congress-JD(S) and opposition BJP over the Governor’s ‘interference’ in the House proceedings.
The Assembly will resume, on Friday at 11:00 AM, the debate on the confidence motion Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy moved earlier on Thursday to prove that his coalition government has a majority in the House.
After the adjournment, the BJP MLAs declared that they would stage an overnight ‘dharna’. They are sitting in the state assembly demanding that the Speaker replies to the Governor’s letter and holds a floor test.
Governor Vajubhai Vala had sent a message through a Raj Bhavan official to the Speaker on late Thursday afternoon to conduct the floor test by the end of the day after BJP legislators complained to him that the ruling allies were deliberately delaying the trust vote by prolonging the debate and raising extraneous matters to prevent the trial of strength.
“The motion of confidence moved is in consideration at the house. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is expected to maintain the confidence of the house at all times. I send a message to consider trust vote by the end of the day,” Vala said in a message to the Speaker.
Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa also urged for the voting to be held on Thursday itself. “Even if it is 12 midnight, let the trust vote be held today,” he said in the assembly.
Earlier the same day, a BJP delegation consisting of Jagadish Shettar, Arvind Limbavali, Basavaraj Bommai, SR Vishwanath and N Ravikumar met the Governor and submitted a memorandum over the vote of confidence.
“13 MLAs from the INC and 3 MLAs from JDS have resigned from the Legislature. Further, two independent MLAs have withdrawn their support from the government headed by HD Kumaraswamy. It is therefore evident that the Government led by HD Kumaraswamy has lost its majority…,” read the memorandum.
As per the register of attendance, 18 MLAs were not present in the Assembly as the House took up the vote of confidence for debate.
Earlier, the Speaker had sought a detailed report from Home Minister M B Patil on rebel Congress MLA Shrimant Patil, who was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai after he complained of chest pain on Wednesday.
Expressing concern over the images shared in the House, Kumar observed that the situation “does not look natural”. Photos showed several wired electrodes pasted on the Patil’s chest.
“What kind of a Speaker I would be if I proceed with this document (letter sent by Congress MLA Shrimant Patil informing about his ill health) which has no date or letterhead,” Kumar said in the Assembly.
Shrimant Patil, who was staying with other Congress legislators at the Windflower Prakruthi Resort in Bengaluru, was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai on Thursday.
Kumaraswamy had on Wednesday issued a whip to all JD(S) MLAs including three rebel legislators Narayan Gowda, Gopalaiah and H Vishwanath to be present in the Assembly at the time of trust vote.
The Congress had issued a similar whip to its members including the rebels to attend the House. The Supreme Court on Wednesday had observed that 15 rebel MLAs cannot be forced to take part in the proceedings of the House.
Over the past few days, 16 lawmakers–13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S)–have resigned from the assembly, putting the ruling coalition in the state on the brink of collapse.
The numbers of the coalition have reduced from 117 to 101. The BJP has 105 MLAs in the 224-member House where the halfway mark is 113 and has said recently that all its MLAs are together. However, the numbers would drop only if the resignations are accepted or the MLAs are disqualified.
(With agency inputs)