Suspense ends, Kumaraswamy govt to face Karnataka trust vote on Thursday

Suspense ends, Kumaraswamy govt to face Karnataka trust vote on Thursday
Suspense ends, Kumaraswamy govt to face Karnataka trust vote on Thursday

Karnataka’s HD Kumaraswamy-led Janata Dal Secular-Congress coalition government will face its trust vote on Thursday, it was decided at a meeting of the assembly’s business advisory panel.

The discussion on the vote of confidence will begin at 11 am on Thursday,” Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah announced.

Chief Minister Kumaraswamy had offered to face the confidence vote last week after nearly 16 coalition lawmakers sent their resignations to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, threatening to reduce the coalition government to a minority.

The strength of the 224-member state assembly would be reduced to 209 if the 16 resignations are accepted.

The Congress-JDS coalition would need 105 to retain the government but it has only 101 MLAs. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, has 105 lawmakers in the assembly apart from the promise of support of two more independent legislators.

The Karnataka coalition has survived so far because Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar decided against rushing into accepting the resignations, insisting that the law required him to satisfy himself that the resignations were voluntary, and not coerced. Ramesh Kumar held fort even when the Supreme Court – which had been petitioned by 10 rebel MLAs – initially told him to quickly take a decision.

The court, after hearing the speaker’s version, later barred Ramesh Kumar from taking a call either on the disqualification of the rebel Karnataka MLAs or their resignation.

As the BJP campaign ramped up its campaign in Karnataka demanding that Kumaraswamy step down to make way for BJP’s state chief BS Yeddyurappa to take over, the JDS leader put up a brave face and offered to face the confidence vote last week. Speaker Ramesh Kumar didn’t oblige, insisting that only the assembly’s business advisory committee which also includes Yeddyurappa could decide the timing.

The Congress used the weekend to renew efforts to persuade the rebel lawmakers to withdraw their resignation. And at one point, it appeared to have had made some headway too when it got an influential lawmaker MTB Nagaraj to review his stand.

But on Sunday, Nagaraj boarded a chartered plane to rejoin 12 other rebel lawmakers of Karnataka’s ruling Congress-JDS coalition who are sequestered at a five-star hotel in Mumbai.

Nagaraj told reporters in Mumbai that there was no question of him withdrawing his resignation.

“I said Sudhakar and I had resigned together and that I would try and convince him to take back his resignation, and that I would do so only if he agreed. Even now, I will speak to Sudhakar and come to a decision. There is no question of me taking back my resignation,” he said.

Another rebel Congress lawmaker, ST Somashekar Gowda, echoed him in Mumbai. “We are together and we would not take back our resignations,” he said.

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