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Karnataka: What is BJP’s plan-B if rebel MLAs are disqualified

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Bengaluru, July 13: The big question is will the Speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly Ramesh Kumar accept the resignations of the rebel MLAs. He has been told to hold on to his decision until Tuesday by the Supreme Court, when it hears the matter next.

Currently seven Congress MLAs and three from the JD(S) face disqualification for disobeying the party's whip. If the Speaker invokes the provisions under the 10th schedule of the Constitution and disqualifies the MLAs, they cannot contest a by-poll and return to the current legislative assembly.

Karnataka BJP State President B S Yeduyurappa with party leaders Jagadish Shettar, K S Eshwarappa and others during the BJP legislator party meeting at the party office in Bengaluru

This would mean that if the Speaker disqualifies the MLAs, then they can seek a re-election only in the 16th assembly. He cannot become a minister in the current assembly and neither can be a member of the legislative council.

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In the existing scenario, it would be interesting to see how things would shape up in Karnataka. Ten have tendered their resignation to the Speaker and once the Supreme Court takes a decision, then the remaining six too are likely to follow suit. If the Speaker decides to disqualify all the MLAs, then the strength of the House will come down and the coalition of the JD(S) and Congress will not have the numbers. The magic number would then be 106. The BJP with the help of the two independent MLAs will have 108 and the Congress, JD(S) would stand at 103.

However many within the Central BJP feel that it would be a difficult scenario for the party to survive with such a thin majority. The government would hang by a thread and it could cause problems.

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In the event of the coalition collapsing, the BJP would prefer the imposition of a President's rule and then face the elections. The party feels that it has a sure shot chance of winning with a majority, if elections are held. This would also mean that those MLAs who have been disqualified can contest the elections.

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