Koliwad saves skin of seven former JD(S) MLAs

K B Koliwad

A day before the crucial floor test, Legislative Assembly Speaker K B Koliwad on Friday dismissed the disqualification petition pending before him as infructuous.

This calculated move by Koliwad just before he demitted office, not only comes as a saving grace to the politicians facing the disqualification threat, it was also done to ensure a safe home run for the Congress-JD(S) combine during the floor test on Friday.

Legislative Assembly secretary S Murthy told reporters in Bengaluru that Koliwad dismissed the petition at 10.30 am -- much before Governor Vajubhai Vala appointed BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as the pro tem Speaker. According to sources, the Opposition parties, anticipating the appointment of a BJP pro tem Speaker, ensured that Koliwad took care of the matter before his successor could hamper their prospects. The JD(S) had moved the disqualification petition against seven of its former MLAs charging that their had flouted the party whip and voted in favour of a Congress candidate during the 2016 Rajya Sabha polls.

But Koliwad had not pronounced his decision for nearly two years. The matter came to fore again during the Rajya Sabha polls in March. The JD(S) which fielded a candidate wanted to ensure that its suspended MLAs did not cross vote again. It moved the High Court of Karnataka, which, after a few hearings, directed the Speaker (Koliwad) to pronounce his decision by May 27.

However, as the JD(S) leaders, led by B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan had joined the Congress by then, Koliwad continued to keep the petition pending.

The Congress had fielded all seven leaders during the recently concluded Assembly elections. Of the seven, only three -- Khan (Chamrajpet), Akhanda Srinivasamurthy (Pulakeshinagar) and Bheema Naik (Hagaribommanahalli) won the elections.

The rest -- H C Balakrishna (Magadi), Iqbal Ansari (Gangavathi), Ramesh Bandisiddegowda (Srirangapatna) and N Cheluvarayaswamy (Nagamangala) were defeated.

Irrespective of their performance, if the petition had been kept pending, Koliwad’s successor might have taken the decision to disqualify the MLAs -- which would have been for a period of six years.

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Koliwad saves skin of seven former JD(S) MLAs

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