Karnataka legislative Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday said that he needed time to scrutinise and get clarity on the resignation letters before accepting them. He said this after the rebel Karnataka MLAs of Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) coalition met him in Vidhana Soudha and submitted their resignations in the format prescribed.
Earlier in the day, Kumar claimed things “appeared murky” after 10 rebel legislators of the ruling coalition approached the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had asked Kumar to decide on the resignations on Thursday itself. When Kumar petitioned the court seeking more time, the court refused an urgent hearing and said it will consider his plea on Friday.
The ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition faces the threat of losing its majority in the Assembly if the resignations are accepted as its current tally is 116 in the 224-member House. If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted by the Speaker, the tally will be reduced to 100.
Here are the top updates of the day:
11.01 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy says the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the state is strong despite the efforts to destabilise. “We are confident and prepared for a smooth and fruitful conduct of legislative sessions,” he says in a tweet. “It is unnecessary to give importance to Tourism Minister Sa. Ra. Mahesh’s casual meeting with BJP leaders at the new building of KK guest house, managed by KSTDC which comes under his portfolio,” he adds.
7.42 pm: The Speaker says the rebel MLAs are still members of their parties for now. “It is up to the MLAs to decide whether to follow the whip or ignore it,” he adds.
7.32 pm: Speaker Ramesh Kumar reiterates that he needs time to examine the resignation and ascertain if they are genuine.
7.30 pm: The Speaker claims the dissident MLAs told him that they went to Mumbai because some people threatened them a few days ago. “But I told them that they should’ve approached me and I would have given them protection,” he adds. “Only three working days have elapsed but they behaved like an earthquake occurred.”
7.24 pm: “I am entitled to make right decision after scrutinising the resignations,” Speaker Ramesh Kumar says. He says he is neither responsible for the political instability in the state, nor does he care about its outcome. He is only guided by the Constitution of India and the people of Karnataka, he adds.
“If calling the MLAs for personal hearing is seen as a delay, then do you expect me to take action on them in a lighting speed,” he asks, according to News18. “Should I not follow the rules of procedure?”
7.15 pm: “As per Article 202 [Karnataka Assembly Rules and Procedures] there are certain guidelines to tender resignations,” the Speaker adds. “Eight resignation letters were not in the right format. I had asked the MLAs to submit their resignations in the required format.”
7.10 pm: The Speaker claims that allegations that he was unavailable earlier are untrue. “I felt hurt when I saw some news that I am delaying the process,” Ramesh Kumar says. “Governor informed me on July 6 about the resignations. I was in office till then and later I left for personal work. Before that no MLAs informed that they were coming to meet me.”
“On July 6, I was in my chamber till 1.30 pm,” he adds, according to ANI. “The MLAs came there at 2 pm, they didn’t even take prior appointment. So, it’s untrue that I ran away because they were coming.”
7.08 pm: The Speaker says he will verify if the resignations are genuine and voluntary. “it is just not [about] accepting or rejecting a resignation,” he says.
7.07 pm: “It is not my duty to say who will leave and who will stay,” Speaker Ramesh Kumar says. “They [rebel MLAs] have submitted their resignations.”
7.05 pm: Speaker Ramesh Kumar addresses media personnel after meeting dissident MLAs in the Vidhana Sabha in Bengaluru.
6.59 pm: Meeting between the Speaker and rebel MLAs is underway, reports News18.
6.40 pm: The Karnataka Cabinet resolved to face the situation bravely and withstand it unitedly, PTI reports. Rural Development Minister Krishna Byre Gowda calls the situation an assault by the BJP. “It can be called as continuous assault rather, by the BJP, using the central government,” he says.
“Till today we have withstood all their assaults, this time the situation is more serious than previous attempts, we concede that, but after considering all pros and cons, the chief minister, the deputy chief minister and the ministers have resolved to face it bravely and withstand it unitedly.” he says.
6.33 pm: Congress Chief Whip in Karnataka Assembly issues whip to MLAs to attend the session on Friday. Absent MLAs will be disqualified under the anti-defection law, ANI reports.
6.24 pm: The MLAs submit their resignations to Speaker Ramesh Kumar in the prescribed format, News9 reports.
6.19 pm: Speaker Ramesh Kumar will address media personnel at 7 pm, News9 reports.
6.13 pm: Rebel MLAs reach the Speaker’s office in Bengaluru, reports ANI.
6.07 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to her Karnataka counterpart HD Kumaraswamy on Wednesday evening, PTI reports. She reportedly asked him to stand his ground and not give in to the efforts of the BJP.
6.05 pm: Of the 16 MLAs who have resigned, 13 are from the Congress and three are from the Janata Dal (Secular). The first to resign was Congress MLA Anand Singh. This was followed by senior leaders Ramalinga Reddy, BC Patil and Ramesh Jarkiholi. Other Congress legislators who have rebelled are Pratapgauda Patil, Shivram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumatahalli, ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, Muniratna Naidu, SN Subba Reddy, MTB Nagaraj and K Sudhakar.
On the list of JD(S) MLAs who have submitted resignations are Narayana Gowda, Gopalaiah and AH Vishwanath.
6 pm: The Janata Dal (Secular) has filed disqualification petitions against the three MLAs who have resigned, reports News18.
5.45 pm: Karnataka Cabinet that met under Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday is confident that the government will survive, according to News18. Cabinet members reportedly also said they were ready to face a no-confidence motion.
5.35 pm: Some rebel MLAs arrive in Bengaluru by a special flight from Mumbai, PTI reports. They are being escorted to the Vidhana Soudha by the police.
5.05 pm: The dissident MLAs are expected to reach Bengaluru by 5.10 pm, News18 reports.
5.01 pm: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar inspect the security arrangements at the Vidhana Soudha, ANI reports. Dissident Congress and JD(S) MLAs are expected to meet Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar around 6 pm to re-submit their resignations.
4.59 pm: The Kolkata police detain Youth Congress members in Kolkata after they stage protests against the political situation in Karnataka, ANI reports.
4.27 pm: Ahead of the meeting with the dissident MLAs, Kumar says things “appeared murky” after the legislators approached the Supreme Court, PTI reports.
“I had not prevented them [disgruntled MLAs] from coming [to my office],” he tells reporters outside the Vidhana Soudha. “I don’t know why they moved the Supreme Court to meet me. There was no need for them to approach the court [for a direction] that I should meet them. They could have willingly come here. That itself shows the whole thing is murky.”
Read more here:
3.17 pm: “What we have seen in Karnataka, what we have seen in Goa may appear to be political one-upmanship, but I think it has a very damaging affect on the economy, foreign investors, rating agencies,” Chidambaram tells the Rajya Sabha. “In the last two days, they have gravely damaged democracy. More such incidents will completely damage the democratic framework of this country.”
Chidambaram added that international organisations don’t watch “tamed Indian television channels” and urged the BJP to “respect democracy”.
Read more here:
3.15 pm: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram says the political situation in Karnataka and Goa will have a damaging effect on the economy. He claims the BJP government has “gravely damaged” democracy, according to PTI. While the developments may help the BJP advance its “political gains”, they are also “doing a great disservice to the economic goals of this country”, the former finance minister tells the Rajya Sabha during a debate on the Union Budget.
3.07 pm: “The way the BJP is once again trying to break MLAs in Karnataka and Goa using money and power is a blot on the country’s democracy,” Mayawati adds in another tweet. “Time has come that a strict law is enacted in the country to end the membership of those who switch parties.”
3.06 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati claims the Bharatiya Janata Party has begun a campaign to dislodge non-BJP state governments and says her party condemns this.
“The BJP returned to power at the Centre by misusing money power and through EVM tampering but it has now started a campaign to dislodge the non-BJP state governments in order to overcome its exasperation over the defeats it faced in the Assembly elections in 2018 and 2019,” Mayawati says in a tweet. One BSP lawmaker is part of the ruling coalition in Karnataka.
2.55 pm: “The BJP is not behind our decision,” rebel Congress MLA Byrathi Basavaraj clarifies to PTI. “It has nothing to do with the BJP.”
The coalition faces the threat of losing its majority in the Assembly if the resignations are accepted as its current tally is 116 in the 224-member House, which includes 78 Congress members, 37 JD(S) and one from Bahujan Samaj Party. If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted by the Speaker, the tally will be reduced to 100.
2.50 pm: “We respect the Supreme Court’s directives,” rebel Congress MLA Byrathi Basavaraj tells PTI. “We will meet the speaker today itself by 4 pm and tender our resignations. We will not withdraw our resignations.” Basavaraj and 13 other dissident colleagues were staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Powai, Mumbai, for the past few days, since they resigned from the Karnataka Assembly and withdrew their support to the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition. They are now on their way to Bengaluru.
2.40 pm: Rebel Congress MLAs are on their way to Bengaluru.
2.26 pm: The Supreme Court dismisses Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s petition that sought more time to decide on the resignations. Kumar had moved the court earlier in the day and sought an urgent hearing at 2 pm. But the top court refused it and said it will hear the petition on Friday along with that of the 10 rebel MLAs.
The court has directed Kumar to decide on the resignations by today itself. The court has allowed the legislators to meet Kumar at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on Thursday evening.
2.06 pm: Two Congress MLAs Bheema Naik and Byrathi Suresh reach the Karnataka Assembly Speaker’s office in Vidhana Soudha, reports News9.
1.45 pm: Rebel Karnataka MLAs say there is no change in their stand. “We will be going to Bengaluru today and will re-submit the resignations to the Speaker,” the rebel lawmakers tell News18. “We are hoping for cooperation from all quarters.”
1.36 pm: “Our support is there with this government, to respect our leader Rahul Gandhi,” rebel lawmaker Somashekar tells ANI. “But commitment made by the coalition government couldn’t satisfy us. We didn’t taken this decision all of a sudden, we had even informed earlier, but they did not care.”
1.27 pm: Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy says that he will not resign amid speculations that he is willing to step down. “What is the necessity for me to resign now,” he tells NDTV. “In 2009-10, when the same Yeddyurappa was chief minister, at that time 18 MLAs [legislators] including eight ministers opposed him. Ultimately what has happened.”
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1.21 pm: Two more Karnataka MLAs join dissident leaders, camping at a hotel in Mumbai, PTI reports, quoting sources. “The two MLAs arrived after midnight,” the source says. “We are expecting four more MLAs to come here soon.”
This brings the total number of rebel lawmakers from Karnataka, who are staying at the hotel, to 14.
1.08 pm: BJP’s Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa to hold a legislature party meeting today, reports News9.
1.05 pm: Dissident Congress MLA ST Somashekar leaves with BJP MLAs to a private resort near Yelahanka, Bengaluru, reports News9.
1.03 pm: The rebel MLAs from Karnataka will reportedly leave by a special flight from Mumbai to Bengaluru at 2.30 pm. They are supposed to land at Bengaluru by 4 pm, reports News18.
12.59 pm: Rebel Karnataka MLAs, staying in Mumbai, are likely to leave for Bengaluru soon, News9 reports.
12.49 pm: Congress leader KC Venugopal says BJP is trying to bring down a democratically elected government. “Operations LOTUS with money and muscle power has exceeded all limits of acceptance,” he says. “MLA’s are kidnapped and victimized sounding the death knell for democratic values.”
“Operation Lotus” is a term the Congress has used since 2008 to refer to the BJP’s alleged attempts to lure Opposition legislators to join its camp and to guarantee the stability of its erstwhile government under BS Yeddyurappa in Karnataka when he was in power then.
12.24 pm: Senior Congress leaders hold a meeting at Speaker Ramesh Kumar’s office along with lawyers. Leaders discuss legal options after Supreme Court’s directions, reports News9.
12.16 pm: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Kota Srinivas Poojary calls for Kumaraswamy’s resignation. He says the coalition government has lost majority, News9 reports.
12.14 pm: Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy at the Vidhana Soudha to chair the Cabinet meeting, reports News9.
11.51 am: Back in Bengaluru, Congress leader DK Shivakumar reiterates his confidence that the MLAs will be back with the party, ANI reports.
11.18 am: Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, G Parameshwara and Dinesh Gundu Rao arrive at the Vidhana Soudha to attend the Cabinet meeting, News9 reports.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure are in place near the Vidhana Soudha.
11.16 am: The Supreme Court allows the rebel MLAs to appear before the Assembly Speaker at 6 pm to tender their resignations. The Speaker has to decide on the resignations on Thursday itself, Bar and Bench reports.
The top court also orders the Karnataka police to provide adequate security to the rebel MLAs.
The bench will hear the plea on Friday.
11 am: BJP MLA Renukacharya says Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar should resign as he is functioning like a Congress worker, News9 reports. He says Kumar is hesitating to take a decision on the rebel MLAs’ resignations despite having all information.
10.59 am: Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar says that he will take legal remedy against the Mumbai hotel that cancelled his room reservation on Wednesday, ANI reports. Shivakumar had gone to meet the rebel MLAs but was escorted away from the hotel by the Mumbai Police, and later detained.
10.50 am: Local BJP workers oppose the induction of rebel JD(S) MLA Gopalaiah into the party for his alleged criminal background, News9 reports.
10.45 am: Here are the updates from Wednesday:
- Congress leader DK Shivakumar was detained by the Mumbai Police while he was waiting to meet the rebel MLAs at the hotel in Powai locality in which they are staying. Shivakumar had stationed himself outside the hotel after being stopped from entering earlier in the day. By Wednesday night, he was forced to return to Bengaluru.
- Two more legislators resigned, taking the number of MLAs who have stepped down to 16. The resignations of two more Congress MLAs – Housing Minister MTB Nagaraj and State Pollution Control Board Chairman K Sudhakar – was followed by high drama in the third floor of Vidhana Soudha or the State Secretariat.
- Some rebel MLAs filed a plea in the Supreme Court against Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar for not accepting their resignations.
- Bharatiya Janata Party legislators led by the party’s Karnataka chief BS Yeddyurappa met Governor Vajubhai Vala and Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. The delegation asked for action soon on the resignations of the MLAs.
- Both Congress and BJP leaders and workers held protests in Bengaluru. Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Siddaramaiah, along with Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda and KC Venugopal protested near Raj Bhavan. Yeddyurappa protested outside the Vidhana Soudha along with BJP workers.