Before floor test, BJP’s first hurdle is Speaker election
As the BJP scrambles to cobble up the numbers, it has one big hurdle to cross before taking the floor test. The election to the post of Speaker in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly will determine if the BJP has the numbers of not.
The Speaker's role in a floor test is very crucial. He decides on how the voting is to be conducted, whether a member should be disqualified among other duties. Going by the current numbers, the BJP is 7 short to elect a Speaker. If it fails to elect a Speaker of its choice, then it becomes a pre-cursor to what the floor test would look like.
Prior to the election of a speaker, a pro-tem speaker is appointed. The Congress has suggested the name of R V Deshpande while the BJP wants Umesh Katti. The precedent is that the senior most member of the House is appointed pro-tem Speaker. The final call is however taken by the Governor.
The role of a pro-tem Speaker would be to administer oath to the new MLAs and conduct proceedings before a full time Speaker is elected. The law is not too clear on whether a pro-tem Speaker could conduct a floor test or not.
For the post of full time Speaker, the BJP is considering either Jagadish Shettar or K G Bopaiah. For the BJP to get its Speaker in would be extremely crucial. The BJP is hopeful that some Congress and JD(S) MLAs would cross vote in its favour. In such a scenario, the role of the Speaker becomes extremely crucial and he or she would decide on whether the MLA would be disqualified or not.