Advantage BJP as Speaker disqualifies 14 rebel MLAs

Speaker Ramesh Kumar

Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Sunday disqualified the 14 under the anti-defection law till the end of the term, ending suspense on their fate and paving the way for the BJP to secure a simple majority during the confidence motion. 

Addressed a news conference, Ramesh Kumar said he had disqualified the MLAs under paragraph 2(1)(a) of Tenth Schedule read with Article 191(2) of the Constitution. 

Soon after the decision was announced, several rebel MLAs said they would challenge the decision in the Supreme Court. 

With the disqualification of 14 MLAs on Sunday — 11 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) — the total number of disqualified MLAs stands at 17. Three MLAs — two from the Congress and one from the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janata Party — were expelled on Thursday.

The decision is good news for the BJP. With the Assembly strength reduced to 208, including the nominated member, the saffron party led by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa can secure a simple majority in the Assembly when the CM moves the confidence motion on Monday.

Apart from its 105 MLAs, the BJP enjoys the support of an independent MLA, which takes it tally to 106. The Congress and JD(S) combine enjoys the support of 101 MLAs, including the Speaker.

Soon after the Speaker’s decision, the rebel MLAs and the BJP lashed out at the ‘hasty’ decision made with 'malafide' intent. Rebel MLA from the JD(S) A H Vishwanath said the disqualified MLAs would approach the Supreme Court against the order.

He alleged that the order was unilateral and the grievances of MLAs mentioned in their resignation letters were not taken into account.

BJP leader Govind Karajol accused the Speaker of succumbing to pressure by political parties and not considering the voluntary resignations submitted by the legislators.

However, both the Congress and JD(S) leaders hailed the Speaker’s ruling as ‘historic’ and as a blow to 'opportunistic politics' in the country.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah welcomed the decision. “Welcoming the decision of speaker to disqualify 14 MLAs. This honest decision of speaker will send strong signals for all the representatives in the country who might fall for @BJP4India’s trap,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, speculations were rife that the Speaker will resign from his post before the BJP moves a no confidence motion against him.

The BJP had quickened its efforts to form the government soon after the disqualification of three rebel MLAs on Thursday. Yediyurappa was sworn-in as chief minister on Friday, even though a few Congress leaders maintained that the BJP did not have the majority.

Moreover, Congress and JD(S) leaders’ hopes that the three disqualifications would nudge the other rebel MLAs to reconsider their resignations didn’t materialise.

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