K’taka speaker buys time for govt

K’taka speaker buys time for govt
Rebel MLAs arrive to meet the Speaker (Inset), at Vidhana Soudha on Thursday.
BENGALURU, JUL 11 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/11/2019 11:13:22 AM IST

Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday said he would decide on the fresh resignation of MLAs after applying his mind to the letters that he has received and in line with the requirement laid down by the Constitution of India. He has not taken a decision on the resignation letters yet.

“MLAs have submitted resignation in right format now.. I will have to examine whether resignations are voluntary and genuine,” he said at a press conference held shortly after meeting with rebel MLAs. Speaker Kumar said he would take a call on the new resignation letters in line with the Constitution. 

The Speaker maintained that the legislators should have approached him instead of rushing to the Governor. He said, “They (MLAs) don’t communicate to me and rush to the Governor. What can he do? Is it not misuse? They approached the Supreme Court. My obligation is to the people of this state and the Constitution of this country. I am delaying because I love this land. I am not acting in haste.”

The Speaker’s decision may have disappointed the rebel MLAs, 11 of whom arrived by special flights from Mumbai. They are likely to seek a speedy decision from the Supreme Court when the matter comes up before the court Friday. Ramesh Kumar said he has video-graphed the entire proceedings and sent everything to the Supreme Court Registrar General. He has also sought clarification from the apex court on what it meant by “a decision forthwith”. 

It is to be seen if the Speaker’s tough stand will lead to a friction between the powers of the judiciary and that of Speaker. 

In all, 16 MLAs have resigned, so far. And out of the 13 resignations received earlier, only five were in order. Eight were not, he had said. He told reporters on Thursday that that he is under no one’s obligation and will take a view on resignations only in compliance with Article 190 of the Constitution of India.  

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the decision taken by the Speaker has to be intimated on Friday when the court takes up the matter again.

Whip issued: Amid ongoing political turmoil in Karnataka, Chikkodi MLA and chief whip of the JD (S)-Congress coalition government Ganesh Hukkeri on Thursday issued a whip to party MLAs to attend the Assembly session to pass the Finance bill on Friday. 

Hukkeri has asked all rebel MLAs to attend Friday’s assembly session to pass the finance bill and other matters, failing which the absent MLAs will be disqualified under the anti-defection law. Hukkeri has said if there’s a need to vote, MLAs must vote in favour of the party. “If there’s a violation of this, there would be action as per the anti-defection law,” he said.

As the government in Karnataka faces an existential crisis with the resignation of 16 legislators of the ruling coalition, the state Cabinet that met Thursday resolved to face the situation “bravely” and “withstand” it unitedly. The ruling coalition has said will is ready to face a confidence motion if moved by the opposition BJP.

The BJP’s strength in the 224-member assembly, meanwhile, has gone up to 107 with two independents resigning from the cabinet and pledging their support to the party. JD(S)-Congress tally has dropped to 101. 

Cong-JDS move for disqualification: Congress  Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao Thursday appeared before the Speaker in connection with the petition they had moved recently seeking disqualification of rebel party MLAs. “We have moved petition against MLAs under anti-defection law, today hearing was done concerning two members, against other members also we have given petition to Speaker.

After the Congress, the JD(S) said the party too has approached the Assembly Speaker seeking disqualification of three of its rebel legislators.


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