Guv directs HDK to prove majority before 1.30 pm

BJP leaders Jagadish Shettar (C), Arvind Limbavali (3rd L) and others submit a letters to Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala (R) during a meeting at Rajbhavan, in Bengaluru on Thursday. PTI photo

The fate of the Congress-JD(S) coalition will be sealed as Karnataka Governor Vajubhai R Vala has directed Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to prove his majority on the floor of the House on or before 1.30 pm on Friday. 

The 117-member Congress-JD(S) coalition tally currently stands at 102 after 15 legislators tendered resignation. The Opposition BJP has 107, including the two Independents. 

Vala had to intervene after the ruling coalition during the Assembly session Thursday sought postponement of the trust motion on the grounds that there were legal ambiguities that needed to be resolved, putting Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar in a fix. The House was adjourned amidst pleas by the Opposition BJP for a division of votes to settle the matter once and for all. 

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This was the second time Vala had to intervene. The first time was when he wrote to the Speaker, urging him to conclude the confidence motion by the end of the day, after a BJP delegation complained that the government was dragging its feet.

“It has been reported to me that the proceedings of the House on July 18 for vote of confidence has been stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality. This cannot go on in a democratic set-up governed by the Constitution,” Vala has stated in his missive to Kumaraswamy. 

Totally, 15 MLAs have tendered their resignation and two Independents have withdrawn support, reducing Kumaraswamy’s government to a minority. “...if these numbers are to move away from the ruling coalition, the same casts a serious doubt on the confidence in the government/ministry led by you in the House,” Vala has noted. 

“I have objectively considered the prevailing situation since past several days,” Vala stated, adding that he found that, prima facie, the government has lost the majority. “Under these circumstances, I require you to prove your majority on the floor of the House on or before 1.30 pm.”

The government is on the edge as 20 legislators of the coalition skipped the Assembly session Thursday when Kumaraswamy formally moved the motion that the House had confidence in the Cabinet headed by him. The absentees included Congress’ B Nagendra, who was formerly with the BJP, and Shrimant Patil on health grounds. 

The Congress and the JD(S) planned to delay the confidence motion proceedings in a bid to get more time to woo back the rebels and move Supreme Court seeking a review of its interim order exempting the 15 rebels to abstain from the Assembly.

The coalition is expected to protest Vala’s directive. “The resignation of the MLAs is yet to be accepted, but the Governor has certified that they have withdrawn support and the government was in a minority. This is paving the way for the anti-defection law to kick in,” Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar said. 

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