Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday said he would decide on the resignations of 12 of the 15 MLAs who resigned from the Assembly “in a couple of days”, NDTV reported.
Kumar made the remarks to the news channel after disqualifying three rebel MLAs – R Shankar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli – who withdrew support to the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress government. Kumar said the legislators’ resignations were “not voluntary and genuine”. “The whole world knows that...I have done my job to the dictates of my conscience.”
Asked if he was under pressure last week following the resignations and the demand for a trust vote, Kumar said it did not bother him. “On different occasions in the last 15-20 days, sometimes one group wanted some things expeditiously, other people wanted it to be slowed down and vice versa...,” he added.
The 14-month-old ruling coalition lost the trust vote on Tuesday after 99 MLAs voted in favour of it and 105 legislators went against it. The floor test was necessitated by the resignations of the MLAs.
State Bharatiya Janata Party President BS Yeddyurappa was expected to stake claim to form government immediately after the collapse of the coalition government on Tuesday. A day after the floor test, he said he was awaiting instructions from the central leadership. If the BJP chooses not to form a government, the state will be under President’s Rule. The coalition government had come to power in May last year and the next election is due in 2023.
This might affect the Finance Bill, which has to be passed by July 31. “Everybody is watching my behaviour,” Kumar told reporters after announcing the legislators’ disqualifications. “If the finance bill not passed by July 31... it is my responsibility that such a financial impasse is not created.”
Meanwhile, state Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party had become “anti-democratic force”, The Indian Express reported. “We have seen governments falling due to internal instability but this [Karnataka crisis] is engineered to another level,” Rao said. “This was a Rs 1,000-crore operation, using special aircraft, five-star hotels. And it has been going on for one year.”
Rao said the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) would continue to coordinate in the Assembly. “Whether we will fight elections or not, we do not know,” he said. “The party has to decide that.”