The political impasse in Karnataka continued on Monday with the Legislative Assembly not holding a trust vote despite Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s assurance. Debates continued in the Assembly without any solution forthcoming.
As many as 15 rebel legislators of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) have been closeted in a hotel in Mumbai for the past week. The Supreme Court had ruled on July 17 that the legislators cannot be compelled to take part in the trust vote. Subsequently, the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) both filed pleas asking the court to clarify its order.
While Kumar said he had committed to a trust vote on Monday, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy requested him for two more days’ time. On the other hand, Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party chief BS Yeddyurappa urged the Speaker to hold the trust vote by midnight on Monday.
The Speaker held a meeting with BJP MLAs Sunil Kumar, Basavaraj Bommai, CT Ravi and Janata Dal (Secular) legislators Sa Ra Mahesh, HD Revanna, Bandeppa Kashempur in his chamber in the Vidhana Soudha in the evening. He also held a meeting with Kumaraswamy and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. However, the outcome of these meetings were not known.
Earlier in the day, Kumar said parties have a right to issue a whip to all their MLAs, and the MLAs may or may not respect the whip. If legislators do not follow the whip, the leaders of the parties may approach the Speaker later for disqualification.
Subsequently, the Congress demanded that Kumar take a decision on the rebel legislators. However, Kumar refused to send a message to the disgruntled legislators on possible disqualification, saying it was unnecessary.
Congress MLA Krishna Byre Gowda said the BJP alleged that the government was in minority after MLAs resigned. “They could have moved a no-confidence motion but did not,” he added. Gowda also said the Speaker should disqualify the rebel MLAs, without which the impasse will continue.
He also claimed that there was evidence to show that Ramesh Jarkiholi, a rebel MLA, has been in touch with the BJP, even during the Lok Sabha elections. “We will submit all documents relating to Operation Kamala,” Gowda told Kumar. The Speaker said documentary evidence has to be produced while making allegations.
Congress leader DK Shivakumar said BJP should accept that the party has spoken to rebel MLAs. “Why is the BJP not accepting it wants the chair?” he asked. “Why are they not accepting the fact that they are behind ‘operation lotus’? They should accept that they have spoken to these MLAs.”
However, the BJP asked Kumaraswamy to “resign and go” if he has faith in the Constitution and the people of the state.
Meanwhile, a controversy arose when Karnataka Home Minister MB Patil said that rebel MLAs were given security only because Governor Vajubhai Vala asked for it. “Zero traffic was not provided to them,” he added. Patil’s remarks invited the ire of Janata Dal (Secular) MLA AT Ramaswamy, who accused Patil of lying and walked out of the Vidhana Soudha.
Later in the day, Patil asked for a meeting with Bengaluru Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar to discuss zero traffic reportedly given to rebel MLAs, when they came back to Bengaluru to meet the Speaker.