Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Tuesday rejected the resignation letters of eight rebel MLAs for not being in order, reported the Hindustan Times. He asked them to send the letters as per the correct format. Kumar said every step taken by him in the current political crisis in the state would become history, and added that he cannot afford to make mistakes, PTI reported.
He also asked the remaining disgruntled legislators to meet him personally. “If everything can happen through postal correspondence, I am not required at all,” said Kumar.
The speaker said he told Governor Vajubhai Vala that none of the rebel MLAs had met him. “Governor has expressed confidence that I will uphold constitutional norms,” he said. “There is one petition on disqualification pending. I will act on it.”
The speaker said he asked the 14 rebel MLAs to meet him on July 12 and July 13 as the letters they had submitted were not written in the required format. However, Kumar added that if Independent MLAs H Nagesh and R Shankar want to support the BJP, it is “their decision”.
With the support of the two independents, the Bharatiya Janata Party will have 107 MLAs in the 224-member House. The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition has 116 MLAs.
Meanwhile, Congress leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the party had urged the speaker to disqualify the 14 MLAs under the anti-defection law for six years. Siddaramaiah warned 10 of the rebel Congress MLAs to come back or face consequences, PTI reported. He also claimed that their resignations had not been voluntary or genuine.
“Ever since the coalition government took over in the state, the BJP is trying to destabilise it,” Siddaramaiah said. “This is their sixth attempt.”
The former chief minister said all MLAs who attended the Congress Legislature Party meeting pledged their support to the party. “We are going to stage a dharna near the Gandhi statue for an hour where all the MLAs will participate after which we will submit the petition to the Speaker,” he added.
However, the BJP once again rejected claims that it was involved in manipulating the situation. “In the initial stage we tried once but afterwards we kept quiet,” ANI quoted BJP leader and Union minister Sadananda Gowda as saying. “Congress and JDS MLAs don’t have faith in their own leaders and government. We are not behind any MLAs from Congress or JDS.”
The party also claimed that the legislators did not violate the anti-defection law. BJP leader S Suresh Kumar said the law was not broken since the MLAs resigned from the Assembly and not their parties.
State BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa had denied on Sunday that his party was trying to influence the ruling alliance’s legislators.