Former Janata Dal (Secular) President and rebel Karnataka legislator AH Vishwanath on Sunday said that the MLAs disqualified by Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar will approach the Supreme Court on Monday, PTI reported. He said they will challenge the decision as it was “against the law”, PTI reported.
Earlier in the day, Kumar had disqualified 14 rebel legislators from the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress. Three others were disqualified on Thursday. All 17 rebel MLAs who withdrew their support to the Congress -Janata Dal (Secular) alliance were disqualified till the end of the Assembly’s term in 2023.
“The disqualification is against the law...just under a whip served on them, you cannot force the legislators to come to the House,” Vishwanath said. “The Speaker has disqualified 20 members of the legislature on the grounds that they have not attended the House...so against this decision pronounced by the Speaker, we are approaching the Supreme Court on Monday.”
Of the 14 MLAs who were disqualified, 11 are from the Congress – Pratap Gouda Patil, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, K Sudhakar, Muniratna, MTB Nagaraj and Shrimant Patil – and three are from the Janata Dal (Secular). The JD(S) legislators are H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda and Gopalaiah. The three MLAs who were disqualified on Thursday were the Congress’ R Shankar, Ramesh Jarikholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli.
The disqualifications came a day before the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by BS Yediyurappa, will have to prove its majority in the House. After the disqualifications, the strength of the House is now 208, and the majority mark is 105 – the number of MLAs on BJP’s side at present. Yediyurappa said he is confident that he will prove majority. “On Monday, 100% I will prove the majority,” Yediyurappa told PTI.
He added that the the finance bill prepared by the Congress-JD(S) government would be tabled by him and needs to be passed “urgently”. He said otherwise they will “not be able to draw funds even to pay salaries”.
“So tomorrow after moving the confidence motion, we will first take up the finance bill,” Yediyurappa said. “I have not even changed a comma or full stop in it. I will be tabling the finance bill prepared by the [previous] Congress-JD(S) government”.
The 14-month-old ruling coalition lost the trust vote last 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. The coalition government had come to power in May 2018 and the next election is due in 2023. In May 2018, Karnataka ended up with a fractured mandate after the Assembly elections. The BJP emerged as the largest party with 105 seats, but was eight short of the majority mark of 113.