Karnataka Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar promised that the trust vote will be held by 6 pm on Tuesday.
Bengaluru: Thirteen rebel lawmakers in Karnataka, whose resignations have pushed the Congress-JD(S) government to the brink of collapse, have written to Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar asking him four weeks’ time to respond to his summons. The Speaker had summoned the legislators on the disqualification petition moved against them by the Congress leader Siddaramaiah.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathahalli, BA Basavaraj, BC Patil, Pratapgouda Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekhar, MTB Nagaraj, and Munirathna of the Congress and K Gopalaiah, AH Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda of the JD(S) have written to the Speaker.
The letters were similar in content and informed the Speaker that they had not received the copy of the petition and other documents seeking their disqualification.
Their letter read: “You are aware that Disqualification Rules, 1986, require a minimum of 7 days period. In spite of the same, the proceedings are being hurried up. I am not in station now and I requite to consult my lawyer after receiving the papers. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Balachandra R Jarkiholi vs BS Yeddyurappa reported in (2011) 7 SCC 1 has held that 7 days notice period is mandatory. In these circumstances, I request you to grant four weeks time to appear.”
The coalition government had slipped into a crisis two weeks ago after 16 lawmakers — 13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) — resigned. Ramesh Kumar is yet to take a final call on accepting the resignation letters.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 105 members, the Congress-JD(S) coalition has the support of 100 MLAs, excluding Kumar, in the 225-member Assembly. There are 15 rebel MLAs, two Independents and one MLA from the BSP, while another is a nominated member. If the resignation letters of the rebel MLAs are accepted by the Speaker, the government would be in a minority.
The debate on the trust vote dragged on in the Assembly well into Monday night with impatient BJP members pressing for an end to the discussion, which began last Thursday.
Despite assurances by Ramesh Kumar on Monday morning that the vote would be held during the day, the House was adjourned around 11.40 pm without the floor test being conducted. Kumar promised that the trust vote will be held by 6pm on Tuesday.