Speaker accepts 12 BJP MLAs' resignations

Speaker accepts 12 BJP MLAs' resignations

Govt in wafer thin majority

Speaker accepts 12 BJP MLAs' resignations

Legislative Assembly Speaker K G Boapiah on Tuesday accepted the resignation letters of 12 BJP MLAs, who owe allegiance to B S Yeddyurappa, thereby reducing the strength of the ruling party in the House.

The BJP government now has a wafer thin majority and can continue as long as it doesn’t lose two more MLAs or manages to garner the support of the Opposition parties.

Speaker K G Bopaiah received the resignation of 13 BJP MLAs, but accepted only 12,  withholding one on technical grounds.

Despite the reduced strength, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar will be able to present the Budget proposals for 2013-14 as the State government still commands a majority in the truncated Assembly which now has 211 in the House of 225 members.

Bopaiah withheld the resignation of MLA Vittal Katakatonda citing technical reasons as he made mistakes in his resignation letters twice. However, a final decision is likely to be taken on Wednesday. It was not clear whether the MLA is keen on pressing his resignation.

The BJP will now require 106 for a majority and has the support of 108, including 105 MLAs, one independent and one nominated member. The Speaker can exercise his vote in case of a tie. The Congress has 71 and the JD(S) 26 members, and there are five Independent MLAs who were earlier in the Yeddyurappa cabinet.  

Another Yeddyurappa loyalist Tarikere Suresh is expected to resign on Wednesday as he was in Shiradi on Tuesday. The Budget session will start on  February 4 and the BJP will keep its fingers crossed hoping that the resignation episode ends with Suresh. If two more legislators quit the very survivability of the government will be at stake.

All the 13 MLAs who had offered to resign last week stood by Yeddyurappa but the former chief minister was not able to add more members to his camp. The 13 MLAs included four former ministers including Shobha Karandlaje, C M Udasi, Sunil Vyallapure and H Halappa.

Bopaiah, who took nearly 11 hours to process the resignation letters handed over by the MLAs, finally accepted them late in the evening. The Speaker held one-on-one meetings with the legislators through the day to ascertain whether they were resigning voluntarily and consulted legal experts.

At one point of time the legislators had even planned to hold a sit-in dharna inside the Speaker’s chamber till their resignations were accepted. 

The Speaker’s office sought a clarification from the secretary-general of the Lok Sabha on whether the resignation letters could be accepted at a time when a petition filed by the BJP seeking the disqualification of 11 of the 13 MLAs was pending for disposal.

The BJP on Monday filed the disqualification petition before the Speaker apparently to delay the acceptance of the resignations and thereby maintain its full strength in the Legislative Assembly at least till the conclusion of the brief Budget session. However, the move did not provide any dividends as the Speaker decided to go ahead with accepting them.

It is said the Lok Sabha Secretariat, in its communication to the Speaker’s office, suggested acceptance of the resignations.

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