Cong, BJP heading for a showdown in Karnataka

Last Updated 11 October 2010, 14:54 IST

Dubbing the trust vote in Karnataka Assembly as a "farce", opposition Congress and JDS today demanded the immediate dismissal of the BJP government in the state but the saffron party hit back saying Governor's recommendation of President's Rule was a "pre- written Congress script".

JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy accused Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa of violating rules and regulations of the House. "A government which has no majority wins the trust vote by voice vote flouting all norms," he said.

Striking back, ruling BJP in Karnataka demanded immediate recall of Governor H R Bhardwaj and warned of an agitation if it was not done. The Governor is "acting like Leader of Opposition", President of BJP state unit K S Eshwarappa said in the presence of the Chief Minister after the Government survived the vote of confidence by voice vote.

Yeddyurappa said the people of the state had not expected such a behaviour from the Governor, who he said, tried to exercise the power of the Speaker. "It's very unfortunate," he added.

In New Delhi, BJP President Nitin Gadkari said an attempt was made to destabilise the democratically-elected government in the state by using money and muscle power. "In the last few days, an attempt was made by the Congress and the JD(S) to destabilise the democratically- elected government by using money and muscle power. Many MLAs were bought and pressurised. An attempt was also made to misuse democratic institutions," Gadkari told reporters.

He said despite all these attempts, the BJP won the trust vote and termed it as a tribute to Jai Prakash Narayan whose birth anniversary falls today. BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said,"Karnataka Governor's recommendation of President's Rule is nothing but a pre-written Congress script against the elected government of Karnataka. Congress from the very beginning is misusing the Governor's office for its political purposes and has converted the Raj Bhawan of Karnataka into a Congress Bhawan."

Yeddyurappa survived the trust vote through a voice vote amid pandemonium in the House after Speaker K G Bopaiah disqualified 16 MLAs, including 11 of BJP, hours before the trial of strength.

Slamming the Yeddyurappa government, Congress said the manner in which the trust vote was carried out was "murder of democracy" and accused the Assembly Speaker of indulging in "manipulative and unethical act" in collusion with the ruling party.

"What happened in Karnataka Assembly today was not only the complete murder of democracy but also of constitutionalism... The unfortunate spectacle of a minority government being turned into a majority government by a collusive, manipulative and unethical act perpetrated by the Speaker of the Assembly," party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.

Asking why no division of vote was held, he said it was not only the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution dealing with anti-defection law that was "trampled upon" but "the spirit of the Indian Constitution was massacred" in Karnataka Assembly.

Another party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan termed the trust vote in Karnataka as a "fraud on the Constitution and democracy". AICC General Secretary B K Harirprasad accused the BJP for "ruining" the image of Karnataka and bringing "disrepute" to the state politics. "Whatever has happened in Karnataka is shameful. It is totally unconstitutional, unethical and illegal," he said.

Condemning as "unconstitutional and undemocratic" the manner in which the BJP government won the trust vote, the CPI(M) said the party could not continue in office unless it established majority through a division of votes.

Quoting the Supreme Court judgement in the Bommai case, the CPI(M) Politburo said "a government has to prove its majority on the floor of the House to continue in office. Any disqualification of an MLA can occur only after the vote when the party whip has been violated. Further, this cannot apply to independent MLAs."

In a statement, it said the Yeddyurappa government "refused" to have a division of votes in the House and relied on a voice vote to claim majority. "All this constitutes a brazen constitutional impropriety and cannot be allowed. The Yeddyurappa government cannot remain in office unless it establishes its majority through a division of votes on the floor of the Assembly," it said.

(Published 11 October 2010, 14:54 IST)

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