The numbers game in the State Assembly begins again

The BJP is now keeping all options open including opening channels with the rebels and independents and luring them back to the party fold. Two senior ministers have already been entrusted with the task of holding parleys with the rebels and independents. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is learnt to have personally spoken to five MLAs and offered them ministerial berths. The party, however, is not inclined to talk to independents.

Though, technically, the ruling party’s strength is 122 in the Assembly (including 11 rebels who won their case in the SC, the Speaker, nominated members and one independent-Varthur Prakash) it is uncertain of its future. The magic number for simple majority is 113.

The rebels can ditch the party anytime by turning against the government in crucial situations like no-confidence motions and passing of bills.

If the 11 rebels and five independent members join hands with the Opposition, its combined strength will go up to 113 and the Government will lose its majority. The ruling party is unlikely to seek a trust vote and will proceed with the legislature proceedings.

In a strategic move and in anticipation of the SC verdict, the Cabinet met and resolved to convene the legislature from Monday. The move cut down on the breathing time for the rebels and also bound them to the party whip. 

Following are the likely scenarios that could unfold in the coming days:

Opportunities available to the ruling party

* Try and lure the few of 11 ‘rebel’ BJP MLAs by giving them plum positions, including
Cabinet berths. Even if five rebels fall in line, the Government will be safe.

* Try and ensure the Speaker does not accept any possible no-confidence motion that may be moved by the Opposition, using his prerogative to consider it.

* As per rule book, 14 days notice should be given for mo­v­ing the no confidence mot­ion. As the session has been convened for only 10 days from May 16, opposition part­ies cannot fulfil this formality.

* May indulge in ‘Operation Lotus’. Five Opposition legislators - Subhash Guttedar, Malikayya Guttedar, B B Ramaswamy Gowda, Rajshekar Patil and Amaregouda Bayyapur  - have been identified as ‘potential’ buys.

* If all 16 MLAs try to destabilise Yeddurappa govt again, then BJP may ensure that the same number of MLAs of Congress and JD(S) are disqualified to maintain the equation. n Two House Committees -one headed by Appachu Ranjan over ruckus created by Opposition during the trust vote on October 11, 2010 and another headed by Hemachandra Sagar over the Speaker’s election in 2009 – have recommended action against 16 members.

Presently, the Speaker has been authorised to take appropriate action.

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