Sunday, Dec 15, 2019 | Last Update : 06:41 PM IST

Karnataka crisis: 8 resignations not in order, says Speaker

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Jul 10, 2019, 2:38 am IST
Updated : Jul 10, 2019, 2:38 am IST

Of the 14 MLAs who resigned, four are camping in Karnataka while the rest are in Mumbai.

Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy
 Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy

BENGALURU: Karnataka Assembly Speaker K. Ramesh Kumar on Tuesday gave a breather to the ruling coalition as well as time to send out fresh feelers to the rebels when he said that the resignation letters of eight out of 13 MLAs of the Cong-JD(S) alliance were not in the prescribed format and that he has asked the legislators to submit them properly, by hand.

The respite came even as the Congress’ state unit sought the Assembly Speaker’s intervention in disqualifying its rebel legislators, while senior Congress leaders from Delhi — Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kapil Sibal — rushed to Bengaluru to keep the Congress-JD(S) government intact. They are reportedly planning to meet and convince some of the MLAs not to push for acceptance of their resignations.  

The fate of the 13-month-old Congress-JD(S) government led by chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy is hinged on the Speaker’s decision on the resignation of the 14 MLAs, including Shivajinagar MLA R. Roshan Baig who joined the bandwagon of dissidents on Tuesday.

“Baig’s letter was submitted today and so I have not scrutinised it,” Mr Kumar said.

“Among these 13 resignation letters (submitted earlier), five are in the prescribed format as per the regulations. These five are of Anand Singh, Narayana Gowda, Pratap Gouda Patil, Gopalaiah and Ramalinga Reddy,” Mr Kumar told reporters at his chamber.

“Since the other resignation letters were not in the prescribed format, we have sent them a letter… if you wish you can submit your resignations properly,” he added.

Mr Kumar has asked Anand Singh, Pratap Gouda Patil, Narayana Gowda to appear before him for personal hearing on July 12 at 3 pm and 4 pm, though the Assembly session will begin on that day.

Since July 13 and 14 are holidays, Mr Kumar said he would hear K. Gopalaiah and Ramalinga Reddy on July 15.

Of the 14 MLAs who resigned, four are camping in Karnataka while the rest are in Mumbai.

Mr Kumar also hinted that the MLAs might have to personally hand over the resignation letters, saying, “If everything can happen thro-ugh postal correspondence, I am not required at all”.

“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,” Mr Kumar added.

While 13 MLAs from the Congress and the JD(S) resigned earlier, including 12 on Saturday, two Independent MLAs — H. Nagesh (Mulbagal constituency) and R. Shankar (Ranebennur) — withdrew their support to the government on Monday.

With the support of two Independents, the BJP now has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the half-way mark is 113.

If the resignations of the 14 MLAs (11 of Congress, and three JDS) are accepted, the coalition’s tally will be reduced to 102.

The Speaker has a casting vote in case of a tie.

Mr Azad and Mr Sibal arrived in Bengaluru hours after Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah threw caution to the wind and threatened to disqualify the rebel MLAs. He followed it up by submitting a complaint against eight legislators to the Speaker under the Anti-Defection Law.

Issuing a stern warning to the rebels, Mr Siddaramaiah said that those who have resigned have two options — return to the party or face consequences. 

Speaking with reporters, Mr Siddaramaiah also alleged that the rebel MLAs have been held captive by the BJP in Mumbai. Observing that their act of rebellion will attract provisions of the Anti-Defection Law, the CLP leader cautioned that along with disqualification, the party has also appealed to the Speaker to ban the rebels from contesting elections for six years. “I hope the Speaker will act according to the provisions of the act,” he remarked.

At least seven of the 10 MLAs who have been holed up in Mumbai are heading back to Bengaluru on Wednesday. The rebel MLAs will arrive at the Vidhana Soudha at around 10 am and meet the Speaker with whom they have already sought an appointment.

On Tuesday, at the first meeting of the Congress Legislature Party since the crisis erupted, a majority of Congress ministers and MLAs said that their party would be better off occupying the Opposition benches rather than continuing as a partner of the coalition arrangement as they were upset with chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and his elder sibling and PWD minister H.D. Revanna’s excessive interference. 

Speaking with The Asian Age, a senior legislator said, “Both Mr Kumaraswamy and Mr Revanna interfered even in minor matters concerning the constituencies. If an MLA does not have a say in issues like transfer of a police constable, how long can he tolerate this humiliation? Forget about Congress MLAs, ask their own legislators if they are happy with the style of functioning of the CM and his brother.”  

Leaders of the state unit of the BJP plan to stage a protest demanding the resignation of Mr Kumaraswamy on grounds that he has lost majority. They will also call on governor Vajubhai Vala and Speaker Mr Ramesh Kumar in an effort to expedite the process of acceptance of resignation letters.

Mr Siddaramaiah has been claiming that the saffron party was indulging in anti-democratic means to destabilise democratically elected governments in Karnataka and other states. On Tuesday he said that ever since the coalition government was formed, the BJP had been trying to topple it.

“They have failed five times in their efforts, this is their sixth attempt,” he alleged and added that the BJP would fail in this attempt as well. 

The former CM also alleged that the national leaders of the BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah, were directly involved in the toppling operation.

Tags: h.d. kumaraswamy, k ramesh kumar