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Second trust vote in K’taka, Governor asks Yeddy to prove majority on oct 14
BANGALORE/NEW DELHI, OCT 12 (IANS/PTI):
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Published on 13 Oct. 2010 12:22 AM IST
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Battered by all-round criticism, Karnataka’s beleaguered Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Tuesday agreed to take a floor test again Thursday to prove his majority after earlier demanding Governor H.R. Bhardwaj’s sacking for making precisely the same demand.
A day after Bhardwaj recommended President’s Rule in the state following a controversial trust vote in the assembly, the governor sprang a surprise Tuesday by asking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief minister to take a floor test afresh Thursday.
In a related development, a division bench of the Karnataka High Court reserved judgment on the disqualification Monday of 11 BJP legislators by assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah. It would also hear Monday the case of five independents who too were disqualified ahead of the trust vote.
The 16 legislators had moved the high court against their disqualification by Bopaiah even before the vote on the trust motion was cast.
Even as the BJP launched a blistering attack on the governor, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) questioned Bhardwaj’s decision to provide Yeddyurappa a second chance to prove his majority.
JD-S leader and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, accused by the BJP of fomenting the crisis in the party’s first state government in the south, told IANS: “We are bothered. How can a constitutional authority ask a government to prove majority after recommending President’s Rule?”
The Bhardwaj move followed a day of bedlam in the Karnataka assembly when Yeddyurappa’s vote of confidence was carried by voice vote, triggering vociferous criticism in and outside the house.
The chief minister agreed to a second vote after taking part in a meeting of leaders at the New Delhi residence of party star L.K. Advani.
At the same time, the BJP demanded Bhardwaj’s removal after accusing him of defying “all norms of political impartiality”.
“Bhardwaj has allowed Raj Bhavan to be used for political purposes, for the purpose of destabilising the government and horse-trading,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley told reporters in New Delhi.
The governor argued that he had acted to save democracy in Karnataka.
The BJP government has been in the thick of a crisis since the 16 rebel legislators, including five independents, rebelled against the leadership of Chief Minister Yeddyurappa.
Jaitley alleged that leaders of JD-S and Congress and the rebel legislators “who have defied the anti-defection law have been operating out of Raj Bhavan”.
“All this indicates the governor has completely lost his impartiality. He cannot be the custodian of the constitution in the state,” Jaitley said. “The central government must immediately recall the governor.”
The Congress mounted a counter attack, accusing the BJP of attempting to divert attention from allegations of corruption plaguing its government by going after the governor.
Bhardwaj earlier wrote to the chief minister saying he was giving him “a fresh opportunity” to prove his majority 11 a.m. Thursday. He said the number of legislators supporting Monday’s motion and against it was not recorded. This, he said, needed to be corrected.
Yeddyurappa confident
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Tuesday said he was confident of winning the fresh vote of confidence he would seek in the state assembly Thursday. “I have been advised to seek a fresh vote of confidence on (October) 14th. I have asked the speaker to convene the house again. I am confident of winning the vote of confidence as I did on (October) 11th,” Yeddyurappa told reporters after he and other party legislators met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) core committee members in senior party leader L.K. Advani’s residence here.
Though the BJP appeared confident of proving its majority in the Karnataka assembly after the High Court deferred its decision on disqualifications, the numbers indicate that the ruling party is likely to make it only with a razor-thin margin. With Speaker K G Bopaiah disqualifying 11 rebel BJP MLAs and five Independents, the effective strength of the 224-member Karnataka Assembly has been reduced to 208. BJP needs 105 to prove its majority, the exact number of MLAs that it claims to have at present. The Speaker can also cast his vote in favour of the government in case of a tie.
However, it may not be smooth sailing for the BJP. One of its MLAs -- Manappa Vaijjal -- did not attend the meeting of party legislators with senior leaders at the residence of L K Advani. Karnataka BJP MLAs confirmed, pleading anonymity, that Vaijjal was close to JD(S) and may ditch the party during the crucial trust vote on October 14. However, efforts were on to bring him around, sources said.
Today’s meeting was attended by only 100 of the 105 MLAs whom Yeddyurappa claims to have on his side.
The possibility of further ‘poaching’ (though this will lead to disqualification) of BJP MLAs by Congress and JD(S) is not being ruled out with President’s Rule (followed by fresh elections a few months down the line) looming large.
BJP leaders claimed they had won over two JD(S) MLAs to their side and this would tilt the balance in their favour.

 
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