Ahead of Karnataka budget, every party finds itself in a spot of bother
Bengaluru, Feb 08: It is expected to go down to the wire and the interest today in Karnataka would be on the missing MLAs rather than the budget to be presented by the H D Kumaraswamy government.
There are MLAs missing both from the treasury and opposition benches. While the BJP would look to ensure that more MLAs quit, the Congress on the other hand is set to initiate disqualification proceedings following its legislature party meeting.
In all there are 6 Congress MLAs missing. Among them is J N Ganesh, who is on the run owing to attempt to murder charges. There is also one JD(S) MLA who is missing.
The BJP on the other hand is understood to have been luring three JD(S) MLAs from North Karnataka. On the other hand, it is also keeping a close watch on its MLAs as it fears chances of reverse poaching.
What has increased the fears of the BJP is that the ruling coalition has offered to induct at least 4 MLAs from the party, if anyone from the Congress resigned. All eyes would however be on the CLP meet scheduled to be held today ahead of the budget. Party sources said that those disobeying the party's whip are likely to be disqualified.
The source also said that if the BJP disrupts proceedings today, the government is likely to adjourn the House sine die. This would mean that there would be a vote of thanks by the government, in which an approval for the budget without discussion would be sought.
The Congress on the other hand would petition the speaker of the house to initiate disqualification proceedings if some of its MLAs fail to turn up. The Congress also sought to put to rest the speculation that one of its MLAs B C Patil is quitting the party. He is said to have sought permission from the party to remain absent. The party says that he will be present at the session today.
All eyes on the speaker:
In such a scenario, the Speaker of the House would have a major role to play. Several fence sitters in the Congress, who continue to remain absent are not confident that the BJP will be able to rope in 18 MLAs in order to bring the government down.
Moreover the BJP is also aware that if it continues to disrupt proceedings in the House, the Speaker could suspend a few of its MLAs for a few days. In case this happens, the budget would pass through even if the BJP demands a diction for passing the budget.
In order to pass the finance or money bill, a simple majority is what is required.
The BJP would take into account various factors before it makes it move. It would need 18 MLAs to bring down the government. This looks like a tough job for now. Whether the BJP would prevent the presentation of the budget or boycott the proceedings? Time will tell.