Amid political turmoil, Karnataka Assembly monsoon session to begin today
Bengaluru, July 12: The monsoon session of the Karnataka legislature will begin today with the H D Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government on a sticky wicket following resignation of 16 of its MLAs.
The 11-day long session is likely to begin with both the assembly and council paying rich tributes to distinguished personalities of the state who died during the period when both Houses were in recess, including veteran actor, director and playwright Girish Karnad.
The spate of resignations pushing the coalition government to the brink of collapse is likely to cast a shadow on the proceedings, though it was expected that the opposition BJP would corner the government on a host of issues including drought management, the cabinets decision to sell 3,667 acres to JSW Steel at Ballari and the alleged IMA group ponzi scam.
With 16 of the ruling coalition MLAs resigning, the BJP has demanded Kumaraswamy's resignation, stating that his government has lost majority.
The BJP has even petitioned Governor Vajubhai Vala seeking his intervention.
With 16 resignations yet to be accepted, all eyes are now on the Speaker, who has said he will take a decision only after examining whether they are "voluntary and genuine."
The apex court earlier in the day asked the Speaker to decide "forthwith" about the resignation of 10 rebel MLAs, allowing them to meet him at 6 pm.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the decision taken by the Speaker has to be intimated on Friday when the court takes up the plea by the rebel MLAs.
The BJP may also move a no-confidence motion, pushing the government to prove its majority on the floor of the House.
Yeddyurappa, when asked about moving a no-confidence motion, had recently said his party will take a decision depending on the political situation that exists.
Meanwhile, the state Cabinet that met Thursday amid the crisis, resolved to face the situation "bravely" and "withstand" it unitedly.
Expressing confidence that the government would survive, the cabinet that met under the leadership of Kumaraswamy said it was ready to face a no-confidence motion, if moved by the opposition BJP.
Putting up a brave front, Kumaraswamy Thursday rejected demands for his resignation. "Why should I resign? What is the necessity for me to resign now?" Kumaraswamy shot back to reporters here, amidst the speculation that he could put in his papers in the wake of the crisis.
Government's chief whip Ganesh Prakash Hukkeri has issued a whip asking all MLAs of the ruling parties to attend the session without fail everyday till it concludes and vote in favour of bills moved by the government, or face disqualification under the anti-defection law.
Passage of certain important bills including the crucial Finance bill also hangs in the balance with treasury benches not having adequate numbers in the House.
Responding to a question on the future of the finance bill during the assembly session from Friday, Minister Krishna Byre Gowda told reporters after the cabinet meeting: "Lets see what happens. Opposition has certain privileges and rights to discuss it and seek vote and even press for division. We will not try to override on it. We will give them (opposition) all the opportunity...we are even ready for a vote on it," he added.
Of the 16 MLAs who have resigned, 13 are from the Congress and three from the JD(S). The coalition's strength in the House is 116 (Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and BSP one), besides the speaker.
With the support of the two independents, who resigned from the ministry on Monday, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the halfway mark is 113. If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will be reduced to 100.