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Explained: What is a floor test? Know what will happen in Karnataka Assembly

By Shreya

Bengaluru, July 18: Ahead of the crucial floor test, all eyes will be on the Karnataka Assembly now. The Congress-JDS government in Karnataka is hanging by a thread after the Supreme Court order exempting 16 rebel MLAs from taking part. Clearly, that would place the Kumaraswamy govt short of a majority. All the rebels have said there is no going back now.

In some relief to the embattled coalition government in Karnataka, Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy said he has decided to withdraw his resignation from the assembly and will vote in favour of the trust vote to be sought by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

A view of the Karnataka Assembly

What is a floor test?

A floor test is a constitutional mechanism. It is used to determine if the incumbent government enjoys the support of the legislature. In this procedure, a CM appointed by the Governor can be asked to prove majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly of the state.

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What happens in a floor test

The chief minister has to move a vote of confidence and win a majority among those present and voting. If the confidence motion fails to pass, the chief minister has to resign. The idea behind a floor test is to ensure transparency in the constitutional process.

Will Cong-JD(S) lose in floor test?

Going by the current numbers, the JD(S) and Congress have 37 and 78 MLAs respectively. The total strength stands at 117. There is one MLA from Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP). There are 225 members of which one is nominated. Now, 16 MLAs have resigned of which 13 are from the Congress, while 3 are from the JD(S).Whether their resignations are accepted or they are disqualified, the strength of the House comes down. If the rebels abstain, the strength of the House would come down and the ruling coalition would have just 101 lawmakers. If the rebels abstain the strength of the House is down to 2019 and the magic number would be 105. The BJP on its own has 105 MLAs. It also has the support of 2 independent MLAs and this takes it strength up to 107.

What is a composite floor test?

If there is more than one person staking claim to form the government and the majority is not clear the governor may call for a special session to see who has the majority. Some legislators may be absent or choose not to vote. The majority is then counted based on those present and voting. This can be done through a voice vote, where the legislators respond orally, or through a division vote.

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What is a trust vote?

A trust vote is a motion through which the government of the day seeks to know whether it still enjoys the confidence of parliament. A trust vote is sought either during the first session of a newly-elected Lok Sabha if it is not clear whether a party or a grouping of parties command a majority in the house, or at any time during the five-year tenure of the house if it becomes apparent that the government of the day has lost its majority.

How is the voting done?

Voice vote: In a voice vote, the legislators respond orally.

Division vote: In case of a division vote, voting is done using electronic gadgets, slips or in a ballot box.

Ballot vote: Ballot box is usually a secret vote - just like how people vote during state or parliamentary elections.

What happens if there is a tie?

The ruling coalition in Karnataka should prove magic number to survive. The magic number is the total number of seats required to form a government, or stay in power. It is the half-way mark, plus one. In case of a tie, the Speaker casts the deciding vote. Role reversal Incidentally, in May 2018, the BJP had emerged as the single-largest party in the Karnataka Assembly. However, it failed to win enough seats to form the government on its own.

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