Five rebel Karnataka Congress MLAs approached the Supreme Court on Saturday against Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar for not accepting their resignations, The Indian Express reported. The legislators – K Sudhakar, Roshan Baig, MTB Nagaraj, Muniratna Naidu and Anand Singh – alleged they were “being forced to support the government on the threat of disqualification”.
Ten of the 16 rebel MLAs who have quit the Assembly had moved the top court on Wednesday, challenging the delay in the speaker’s decision to accept their resignations. On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered status quo on their resignations till it decides larger constitutional questions in the matter. The matter will be heard again on July 16. Until then, disqualification proceedings cannot be initiated against the legislators.
However, earlier in the day MTB Nagaraj said he was reconsidering his resignation from the Assembly, and would talk to K Sudhakar about withdrawing his resignation. He said DK Shivakumar and other senior leaders had requested him rethink his decision because of his 40-year association with the party. “I have asked them to give me some time because I have to discuss this with Sudhakar as well, who resigned along with me,” he was quoted as saying. “I told the leaders that I will also bring him for a discussion.”
Speaker files affidavit in Supreme Court
Meanwhile, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Saturday, saying he did not avoid meeting the rebel MLAs from the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), Bar and Bench reported.
Kumar objected to the petitioners’ senior counsel for alleging “he had made himself scarce” when the MLAs approached him personally. “Such allegations it is submitted not only undermine the authority of the office of the speaker but are absolutely fallacious to say the least and have been made only with an intent to mislead this honourable court.”
On Thursday, Kumar had said he was pained by the insinuation that he was delaying the resignation process. The legislators had alleged that speaker wanted to prolong the life of the ruling dispensation in Karnataka. He reiterated that resignations submitted were not in the prescribed format.
Saving the government
The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) are likely to intensity their efforts to pacify the remaining 15 rebel MLAs over the weekend after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said on Friday that he was ready for a trust vote in the Assembly to prove his government’s majority.
If the MLAs do not return to their parties before the trust vote, the government will have the support of only 101 MLAs – assuming Nagaraj stands by his latest decision. The BJP will have the support of 107 MLAs. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has not yet scheduled the trust vote.
Most of the MLAs who resigned have been staying in a hotel in Mumbai. Shivakumar went to meet them on Wednesday but was turned away from the hotel and forced to return to Bengaluru. He and other Congress leaders have been attempting to persuade the ones who stayed back in Bengaluru. After the Assembly session proceedings on Friday, the Congress and JD(S) MLAs were moved to hotels to prevent any attempts by the BJP to poach them. The BJP did the same with its MLAs.
BJP state chief BS Yeddyurappa said the coalition’s efforts to keep its MLAs would not yield any result as the fall of the government was imminent. “There is confusion in Congress and JD(S) due to which the MLAs are fleeing the party,” he said. “A systematic conspiracy is going on to bring the MLAs back.”