Bengaluru, July 23: The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), coalition in Karnataka survived another day as the government led by chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy managed to defer the floor test, adding to the political uncertainty that has engulfed the state.Speaker sets Tuesday 6 pm deadline for trust vote
The deferring of the floor test added to the agony of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and comes in the wake of Kumaraswamy and his predecessor, Siddaramaiah, assuring that discussions on the confidence motion would be completed by Monday.
At least 16 Congress and JD(S) legislators have resigned since 1 July and the BJP is accused of lodging at least 14 of them in a Mumbai hotel. The rebels have submitted their resignations, which is yet to be accepted by assembly speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar. The rebels have been asked to meet the speaker at 11 am on Tuesday over the disqualification petition.
The BJP said the situation demands intervention after at least two deadlines given by the Karnataka governor, who directed the chief minister to prove his majority in the House, passed without the floor test being conducted.
Several members of the ruling coalition argued on Monday that the trust vote should be taken up only after the Supreme Court, which is hearing multiple petitions on the matter, provides clarity over the issuing of a party whip and sanctions for violating it. The apex court is expected to take up hearing on the case on Tuesday.
The whip is a constitutional provision and carrying out the floor test without clarity over the issues will not have “sanctity", said rural development and panchayat raj minister Krishna Byre Gowda.
Gowda, a Congress legislator, brandished pictures of BJP leaders with the rebel legislators and said the saffron party could not feign innocence when there is compelling evidence against it. “Operation Kamala" is part of a “systemic effort to eliminate political opposition in the country", he alleged.
Gowda said the BJP had offered crores of rupees to get legislators to switch sides and asserted that the party’s actions are an onslaught on democracy.
The minister’s statement comes at a time when the BJP has been accused of engineering crises across states by poaching legislators from other parties.
A.T. Ramaswamy, JD(S) legislator from Arkalgud, said that lodging legislators in resorts itself is a “collapse of democracy".
However, the BJP members, who have been instructed to remain non-confrontational during the proceedings to avoid wastage of time, have not challenged any of the allegations made against them so far.
The stalemate among the ruling coalition, the Opposition and rebels threatens to escalate the political problem into a constitutional crisis. The developments are likely to have a lasting impact on the turbulent political landscape of Karnataka.
The BJP has accused the coalition of delaying the floor test despite having been reduced to a minority government. The coalition tally at present stands at 100, excluding the speaker, while the BJP has 105 MLAs and the support of two independents. At least 15 rebels have refused to attend the floor test, while one MLA, Srimant Balasaheb Patil, is suspected to have switched sides.