Congress loses another MLA

Strength down to 71 as BJP manages to persuade Bangarpet MLA to quit
Last Updated 21 October 2010, 18:20 IST

The Assembly Secretary on Thursday issued a notification conveying the Speaker’s acceptance of the resignation. The notification does not state when Narayaswamy submitted his resignation. However, the resignation came into effect from Wednesday, the notification says. Speaker K G Bopaiah remained incommunicado.

The controversial second round of “Operation Lotus”launched by the BJP - persuading Opposition MLAs to resign from their seats to reduce the strength of the Opposition - is likely to continue for a few more days.

According to BJP sources, the party’s target is to wean away at least 11 Congress/JD(S) legislators to counter the Opposition move of luring 11 of the BJP rebels into their fold.

With two Congress legislators - S V Ramachandra and M Narayanaswamy and a JD(S) MLA M C Ashwatha getting into the BJP fold, the combined strength of the Opposition has been reduced to 98 (Congress- 71, JD(S)-27). The overall strength of the 225-member Assembly has now been reduced to 205.

The BJP is seriously attempting to persuade another seven to eight Congress and JD(S) MLAs to quit the Legislative Assembly. The party is said to have approached Congress legislators Rajashekhar Basavaraj Patil, Ramaswamy Gowda, Malikaiah Guttedar and Prakash Hukkeri. But Ramaswamy Gowda had sent a letter to media houses saying he is a loyal Congressman. He had equated the party to his mother and added that doing injustice to the party is like “cheating my mother”.

However, BJP State President K S Eshwarappa said BJP had nothing to do with the resignations of Opposition MLAs. “They are resigning due to internal bickerings in their parties,” Eshwarappa said.

Interestingly, none of the three MLAs who have resigned, were available on phone or in person to media. Calling their residences too did not yield details about their whereabouts.

The ruling party is keen to strengthen its position in the House by reducing the size of the Opposition. Another plan to retain its majority in the House is to build a case and suspend some Opposition legislators for creating ruckus in the House during the first trust vote on October 11.

On a petition submitted by the BJP, Speaker K G Bopaiah has already constituted a seven-member House committee headed by Madikeri legislator Appachu Ranjan to inquire to the incidents on that day.

According to rules and procedure of the Assembly, a legislator can be suspended up to a year for indiscipline inside the House by the  Speaker.

The plan is to ensure the safety of ruling party in the event of the High Court’s decision in the writ petitions challenging the disqualification of the 11 BJP MLAs and five independent MLAs were to go against its interest.

(Published 21 October 2010, 09:29 IST)

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