Speaker bides his time to look into resignations

Rebel MLAs address media after submitting a copy of the resignation to the Governor at Raj Bhavan, in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo/Ranju P

All eyes are on Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar, who said he would start the process of looking into the resignation of the MLAs on July 9. 

Thus, Kumar is seen to have bought some time for the Congress-JD(S) coalition to manage the crisis that hit the roof on Saturday, when 12 MLAs tendered their resignation. 

“They have given their resignation letters to my personal secretary. I have asked my office to give those MLAs an acknowledgement,” Kumar told reporters. “As per rules, they have to personally hand over their resignation to me.”

In a day that witnessed much drama, Kumar reached his Vidhana Soudha office Saturday morning and held a meeting with the additional chief secretary (finance). Dismissing speculation that MLAs would resign, Kumar said: “It’s just a rumour. Trust me, and don’t trust them.” 

Kumar left for Jayadeva Hospital where his relative is admitted. By then, some MLAs had arrived at his Vidhana Soudha office. When asked about it, Kumar lost his cool. “Are you human beings? Don’t you have a sense of shame? My relative is on the death bed. Get out from here (sic),” he thundered. 

Later, when his temper cooled down, Kumar said no MLA had sought his appointment. “How’d I know MLAs were coming?” he said. “My wife’s brother is hospitalised and in bad condition. I had to rush there. On Sunday, I will go back to my native. On Monday, I have some prior engagement. So, I will go to my office on Tuesday next and I will act on the resignation letters as per rules,” he said. 

Kumar belongs to the Congress and the Congress is understood to be banking on him to delay the process so as to buy some time to manage the crisis. “As the Speaker, I belong to no party. I will work in a non-partisan manner,” Kumar maintained. 

It may be noted that the Speaker took nearly a month to decide on the resignation of Umesh Jadhav, who had resigned as Congress’ Chincholi MLA. Jadhav’s resignation was accepted and he went on to defeat Congress veteran Mallikarjun Kharge in the Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat to become a BJP MP.

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