Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri on Thursday admitted a notice by the Opposition Congress expressing no confidence in the BS Yediyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, PTI reported.

The notice, submitted by Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, had the requisite signatures of 23 MLAs, the Speaker said. He said he will fix a suitable time for the no-confidence motion and discussion in the next couple of days.

“We have given a notice stating that this House and the people of the state have lost confidence in Yediyurappa- led government,” Siddaramaiah told Kageri, claiming that more than 23 MLAs supported it. Following this, all Congress legislators stood in their place in support of the notice, obliging Kageri to admit it. Siddaramaiah asked the Speaker to take up the notice with priority.

However, the Speaker proceeded to allow tabling of bills to be passed in the Assembly. Opposing this, Siddaramaiah said: “When this government has lost our confidence, how can they continue with all these processes relating to legislations? They have no moral right and they should go out.”

But the BJP termed the Congress’ move as a “political gimmick” and said the Opposition party lacks numbers to bring down the government. “They [Congress] don’t have numbers or mandate,” Revenue Minister R Ashoka said. “People from Congress have come to our side, don’t know how many more people will come to our side. Reports say many are willing to come.”

In response, Siddaramaiah retorted that many BJP legislators may cross-vote if the motion is put to the ballot. Ashoka said he too was confident that there would be cross-voting by Congress legislators.

In the 225-member Assembly, the BJP has 116 members, Congress 67, Janata Dal (Secular) 33, Bahujan Samaj Party and nominated 1 seat, and two Independents. This excludes the Speaker, who has a casting vote. Four Assembly seats – Sira, Basavakalyan, RR Nagar and Maski – are vacant. Basavakalyan MLA B Narayan Rao died of the coronavirus on Wednesday.

Siddaramaiah had said following a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party that there was a lot of corruption in the Yediyurappa-led government, the Hindustan Times reported. “There has been corruption in procurement of equipment for Covid-19 treatment, government officials are making money by indulging in transfer business and allocation of posts,” Siddaramaiah claimed. “Yediyurappa and his family are interested in only making money.” The Congress leader alleged that the BJP government has “failed on all fronts”.

It is not known whether the Janata Dal (Secular) plans to support the no-confidence motion.