Published: Fri, July 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Karnataka floor test: Before crucial trust vote, Kumaraswamy targets BJP

Karnataka floor test: Before crucial trust vote, Kumaraswamy targets BJP

The Governor had observed that resignation of 15 MLAs of the ruling JD (S)-Congress and withdrawal of support by two independents "prima facie" indicated Kumaraswamy has lost the confidence of the House.

The ruling coalition had held out the threat of using the Whip against the wayward MLAs, citing the disqualification provision under the anti-defection law.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah also spoke in the house and a heated debate ensued between members of government and opposition.

Karnataka floor test: LIVE Updates- Till we get clarification on the Supreme Court's previous order, it is not appropriate to take a floor test in this session which is against the Constitution. "Hundred percent we are confident that the confidence motion will be defeated", Yeddyurappa told reporters.

Slamming the BJP of engineering the chaos in Karnataka, the Chief Minister also claimed that the dissenting legislators had moved the apex court with the BJP's assistance. He said without members being present in the assembly, how could a discussion happen on a vote of confidence, and that it undermined the sanctity of the house. The point of order raised by Siddaramaiah, later backed by Congress' HK Patil and Krishna Byre Gowda, snowballed into a war of words between the BJP and the coalition.

Twenty lawmakers did not turn up on Thursday, including 17 from the ruling coalition, 12 of whom are holed up in a hotel in Mumbai, as the House debated the motion in a surcharged atmosphere.

Yesterday, the Speaker had refused to conduct the trust vote amid allegations by the Congress against the BJP for kidnapping its MLA Shreemant Patil, who had made a decision to take his resignation back.

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However, Patil, in a video message on a social networking site, said no one had kidnapped him.

Meanwhile, BJP state chief B.S. Yeddyurappa said his party was ready to listen to all those who wanted to debate.

"Let's have discussion. You can still form government".

"SC's order nullifying the whip, and by extension operation of Constitution's 10th Schedule to punish MLAs betraying the public mandate, sets a bad judicial precedent, he tweeted".

By delaying the vote, the Congress and JD (S) are trying to buy time to try and lure some of their MLAs back. Their absence would mean that effective strength of the Assembly is reduced to 208 and the strength of the Congress-JD (S) coalition reduced to 101 including the Speaker. They have also been in touch with several leaders in the BJP, and have given them a choice of either joining them or cross-voting during the trust vote.

Congress and BJP MLAs, who were sequestered in resorts in the city fearing poaching by the rival camps, were herded together and brought in buses just before the assembly session began.

Former JD (S) state president and a prominent rebel MLA A.H. Vishwanath added that the more the coalition partners delay the vote, the stronger their resolve to stay away from them. "Kumaraswamy wasn't able to ensure that his coalition had a future, so this strategy shows his survival instincts and efforts to weaken the opposition", Ramaswamy said.

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