Bengaluru, Jul 18, 2019 : The Karnataka trust motion to decide Kumaraswamy government’s fate took another interesting turn with the Karnataka Governor asking the Speaker of the legislative assembly to conduct the vote on Thursday itself after some BJP MLAs rushed to him complaining of deliberate delays to avoid voting on Thursday by the coalition government, HT reported.
Governor Vajubhai Vala’s note to the assembly Speaker sparked off angry reactions from the treasury benches, accusing Vala of interfering in the proceedings, when the house was in the middle of a very important debate that according to them, needed to be settled without any pressure or hurry before voting could take place.
“It might be wrongly sent message but this amounts to interference of this house.” Congress leader HK Patil summed up the sentiment of the coalition government before the Speaker adjourned the house till tomorrow after consulting with the Advocate General on the implications of the Governor’s letter.
Earlier raising objection to the letter, Congress’ Karnataka chief, Dinesh Gundu Rao insisted that Siddaramaiah’s point of order needed to be debated and couldn’t be stepped aside for the trust vote to take place, “Since our rights are infringed upon he has raised this. This is a very important matter,” he said, adding that there was “no need to hurry” on this issue.
A representative of the Governor watched the proceedings in the Vidhan Soudha from the visitor’s gallery and was expected to give him an official report on the conduct of the house.
Former chief minister and BJP leader Jagdish Shettar explained the party’s reason for approaching the Governor, “We have submitted a memorandum to the Governor, requesting him to direct the speaker to go ahead with the trust vote and not take up other issues. Why did Siddaramaiah and Krishna Byregowda and others start debate on point of order?” He asked.
The debate over trust motion moved by chief minister HD Kumaraswamy – that has 26 listed speakers from Congress and JD(S) alone—didn’t move as quickly as BJP would have liked, since most of the day was spent debating a point of order raised by senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah. Siddaramaiah had questioned Supreme Court’s interim order in the house and claimed that it violated his right as Congress legislature Party leader to issue a whip --that can impact the outcome of the trust vote—and demanded a clarification either by the Speaker or from the Supreme Court before any trust motion proceedings could take place in the House.
Siddaramaiah argued that if his whip doesn’t apply to 13 of his party’s rebel MLAs then it will create a constitutional crisis. In its interim ruling, the top court gave the speaker a free hand to decide on the resignations of the 15 rebels and the disqualification petitions filed by the ruling coalition. But a bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also ruled that the 15 rebel lawmakers could not be compelled to attend or vote in the floor test. An MLA who violates the whip is liable to be disqualified by the speaker.
The saffron party hit back by accusing Siddaramaiah of using the point of order as a tactic to digress from the main task of holding the trust vote; it also accused the coalition government of double standards, MLA Suresh Kumar said that Kumaraswamy was wrong in accusing the BJP of being in a hurry since he himself had decided to hold the trust vote on Thursday, BJP’s Tumkur MLA JC Madhuswamy questioned the JD(S) & the Congress MLA’s logic in questioning SC judgement today when they had praised it when BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa was asked to prove his majority within 24 hours, “Where were these people then? The same SC that helped you is helping us,” he said.
In a last ditch attempt to inject speed into the proceedings, BJP’s Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa said his party was willing to sit till the midnight allowing all 26 coalition MLAs to finish their speeches, “Please give them the opportunity. We will not speak much. Please let them move the motion and hold the trust vote today,” he said, adding that his party MLAs will otherwise hold an all night protest inside the House.
The adjournment and the stretched out trust vote gives the Kumaraswamy government time to continue efforts to reach out to the 16 rebel lawmakers from the two ruling parties who had sent their resignation letters to speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and triggered the crisis for the government.