Karnataka developments murder of democracy, says Congress

“What happened in Karnataka was the complete murder of not only democracy but also constitutionalism as it stands in the country," Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said here.

He said: “A minority government was converted to majority through collusive, manipulative act perpetrated by the speaker.” Tewari said if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was confident of the numbers, there should have been proper division in the assembly.

“Let's wait for the report of the governor...the Congress would then finalise its strategy,” he said. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is  in-charge of the Congress affairs in Karnataka, said that the speaker had no jurisdiction on happenings outside the assembly.

Referring to disqualification of some Independent MLAs, Azad said: “No political party has jurisdiction over Independent MLAs.” The BJP government in Karnataka, its first in the south, Monday won the confidence motion by a voice vote with 106 ruling legislators saying 'yes' after Speaker K.G. Bopaiah convened the session at 10 a.m. as directed by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj.

The disqualification of 16 rebel legislators, 11 from the BJP and five Independents, by the speaker earlier in the day reduced the effective strength of the 225-member assembly to 208 and the half-way mark to prove majority in the house came down to 105.

One member is nominated from the Ango-Indian community. With the disqualification of 11 rebels, the strength of the ruling party too declined to 106, including the speaker, followed by the Congress with 73 and JD-S 28; the remaining are six Independents.

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