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Karnataka LIVE: Day After Disqualification of Rebels, ‘Confident’ Yediyurappa to Face Floor Test

HD Kumaraswamy 2 1

Karnataka LIVE: A day after Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified 14 more rebel Congress-JDS lawmakers under the anti-defection law, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who came to power after a protracted battle, will seek a trust vote today. Expressing confidence, Yediyurappa said he would “100 per cent” prove majority. On Sunday, Kumar disqualified all 17 rebels, an action that reduces the majority mark in the assembly and paves the way for the newly formed BJP government to win the trust vote smoothly today.

Eleven Congress MLAs and three JDS lawmakers faced the axe from the Speaker in addition to the three disqualified earlier, bringing down the majority mark to 104, one less than the current strength of 105 of the BJP, which also enjoys the support of an Independent.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who is set to seek the trust vote in the assembly, struck a confident note, saying “On Monday hundred per cent I will prove the majority.”

Kumar pronounced his ruling at a hurriedly called news conference on the eve of the trust vote, two days after Yediyurappa took the oath as chief minister but the rebels said they would challenge it in the Supreme Court. He rejected the resignations tendered by the MLAs and went on to disqualify them, allowing petitions by the two parties.

With the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs, the effective strength of the 224-member assembly excluding the Speaker who has a casting vote in case of a tie, is 207. The magic figure required for majority is 104.

BJP along with the support of one independent has 106 members, Congress 66 (including nominated), JD(S) 34 and one BSP member, who has been expelled by the party for not voting for the Kumaraswamy government during the trust vote on July 23.

The absence of 20 MLAS — 17 rebels, as also one each legislator from Congress, BSP and Independent — during the vote of confidence motion moved by the Congress-JDS coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy had led to its collapse. “I have used my judicial conscience…,” said the Speaker, justifying his controversial action.

His sudden move also came amid indications from the BJP that it was mulling moving a no-confidence against him if he doesn’t voluntarily give up the post when the assembly meets on Monday.

Ahead of the trial of strength, a confident Yediyurappa said the Finance Bill would be passed after winning the trust vote, adding, “I have not even changed a comma or full stop in it. I will be tabling the finance bill prepared by the (previous) Congress-JD(S) government.” The finance bill (appropriation bill) needs to be passed “urgently”, as otherwise “we will not be able to draw funds even to pay salaries (of government employees),” he said.

The Speaker said he took action based on the petitions moved by the Congress and JDS to disqualify the rebel MLAs, who had also submitted resignations as assembly members and were absent during the trust vote sought by Kumaraswamy.

Kumar said he had rejected the request by the rebel MLAs to give him four weeks more to appear before him on the issues of their resignations and disqualification plea against them.

The Speaker had made it clear when he disqualified three rebel MLAs earlier that a member disqualified under the anti-defection law cannot contest or get elected till the end of the term of the present House, a contention which has been challenged by the BJP, rebel MLAs and several legal experts.

Reading out the names of errant MLAs, the Speaker said, “They cease to be MLAs with immediate effect till the expiry of the 15th assembly (in 2023),” adding, “with responsibility and fear I have taken this decision”. “The way I am being pressurised mentally as Speaker to deal with all these things, I am pushed into a sea of depression,” said an emotional Kumar.

Disqualified rebel MLAs, many of whom are still holed up in Mumbai fearing poaching from the Congress-JDS, said they will challenge the action against them in the Supreme Court.

“Dear voters and my well-wishers, Speaker has ordered my disqualification from the assembly. There is no need to panic, we are challenging this in the Supreme Court. I’m confident that we will be victorious in the court,” Maski MLA Pratap Gowda Patil said in a video message to voters.

Speaking to a local news channel, another disqualified MLA Munirathana said they were aware that they will be disqualified as Congress leaders had threatened them about it.

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