In that pursuit, Yeddyurappa has not hesitated to get the 11 MLAs, who questioned his style of functioning, disqualified. With the High Court finding no fault with the Speaker’s decision of disqualifying the MLAs, Yeddyurappa now can continue to flash the victory sign.
Yeddyurappa’s exercise to get a simple majority to form the government began by luring the six Independents to the party fold. Of the six, five went on to become ministers but only to be disqualified in October this year. The trouble for the Chief Minister began when he removed Goolihatti Shekar, now a disqualified Independent MLA, from the Cabinet.
Fearing that they may face similar fate one day, four more Independents - D Sudhakar, Venkataramanappa, Shivaraj Tangadagi and M P Narendraswamy negotiated with JD (S) leader H D Kumaraswamy and resigned as ministers. The Speaker has disqualified them from the membership of the Assembly. Like the 11 BJP members, the Independents too have moved the high court and the next hearing is slated for November 2.
From October 5, the BJP, in particular the Chief Minister has been working non-stop to nullify the efforts of the JD(S) and the disqualified MLAs, and has managed to have the last laugh. The House strength has come down to 206 from 225, thanks to the disqualification of 16 MLAs, three resignations - one of the JD(S) and two of the Congress, obviously due to Operation Lotus. Varthur Prakash, Independent MLA, has identified himself with the Minister Janardhana Reddy’s camp.
The 11 disqualified MLAs have declared that they will approach the Supreme Court seeking justice. The fate of five Independents is hanging in balance. As on Friday, in the House of 206, BJP’s strength is 107 including an Independent MLA and a nominated MLA besides Manappa Vajjal, who abstained from voting on the second floor test which Yeddyurappa faced.
In case the five Independents win their case in the court, then, in the House of 211, the ruling party needs to have 107 MLAs to its side to have majority. When the Chief Minister won the vote of confidence, he secured 106 votes. If Vajjal remains with the BJP, then Yeddyurappa will secure the number required to continue in power. The combined strength of the Congress and the JD (S) is 98. Assuming that the five Independents remain MLAs, then the combined Opposition will have lesser strength than the ruling BJP.
So, in the number game, the Yeddyurappa-led BJP government is safe, though the methods adopted to remain safe may be questionable.
The usually sullen-looking Yeddyurappa was smiling today, as he met the mediapersons. He described the verdict as ‘epoch making’ and a major step towards eradicating defection in the country. The order is like a warning bell to those who indulge in defection. Hope the verdict would lead to a new chapter in the country’s politics, he added.