HDK to take Friday floor test; parties issue whip

HDK to take Friday floor test; parties issue whip

A view of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly inside the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru. DH File Photo

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will take the crucial floor test in the Assembly on Friday to prove his majority, even as the newly formed JD(S)-Congress combine is keeping a close vigil on its legislators.

The Assembly has been convened at 12.15 pm on Friday and election to the post of the Speaker will be held first before Kumaraswamy takes the floor test.

As part of the power-sharing deal, the Congress will get the Speaker's post. Party nominee and former Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar is pitted against five-term MLA and Rajajinagar MLA S Suresh Kumar of the BJP for the post. Ramesh served as Speaker between 1994-99 and as the health minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet.

Kumaraswamy took oath as the chief minister on Wednesday. He has the numbers as the JD(S)-Congress alliance has a combined strength of 117, compared to the BJP, which has 104 legislators.

Tense moments

But the Congress camp did witness some tense moments on Thursday, with senior leader and former minister D K Shivakumar, who has been protecting the party MLAs from poaching, openly expressing his unhappiness for not being made a deputy chief minister. Only KPCC president G Parameshwara took oath as Kumaraswamy’s deputy on Wednesday.

The BJP seems to be testing political waters and the unity of the combine by fielding a candidate for the Speaker’s post.

B S Yeddyurappa of the BJP resigned as chief minister on last Saturday without taking the trust vote as the party failed to mobilise the support of seven Congress or JD(S) MLAs to cross the magic number of 111 required to form the government.

The BJP had approached several MLAs of the combine persuading them to cross vote or abstain from attending the Assembly. Yeddyurappa himself made this admission on the floor of the House.

While it looks like the BJP has lost its steam to defeat Kumaraswamy’s trust vote, the JD(S)-Congress combine is taking no chances. There is a possibility that the BJP may boycott the trust, dubbing the alliance as “unholy”.

The MLAs of the two parties remained confined to their hotels, a day ahead of the trust vote. In fact, they have been cloistered at resorts and hotels for the past nine days ever since political turmoil hit the state following the May 12 Assembly polls, throwing up a fractured verdict.

The JD(S) and Congress MLAs will be reaching the Vidhana Soudha directly from their hotels to participate in the trust vote on Friday.

Ministry formation

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has asked top state party leaders to reach New Delhi soon after the floor test on Friday to discuss the ministry formation. The JD(S) list is likely to be drawn by party supremo H D Deve Gowda.

The JD(S)-Congress combine have arrived at a 12:22 ratio for sharing of ministerial berths as part of the power-sharing arrangement. There is hectic lobbying in the Congress camp from legislators for ministerial berths.

But a deal is yet to be struck between the two parties on sharing of key portfolios like home, public works, water resources, revenue, rural development and Bengaluru development, among others.

Both the JD(S) and the Congress are likely to shortlist their first batch candidates to be inducted into the council of ministers by May 28.

According to sources, a joint meeting of top leaders of the two parties will be held early next week to chalk out the final list.

All the three parties — Congress, JD(S) and BJP — held their respective legislature party meetings in Bengaluru on Thursday.