HDK lives another day, floor test by 6 pm on Tuesday

HDK lives another day, floor test by 6 pm on Tuesday

"We have to close this Tuesday before 6 pm. The discussion on the motion will be over by 4 pm and the voting will take place between 5-6 pm," Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar said, lamenting that his own credibility was at stake. He adjourned the Assembly amid protests by the Opposition BJP, which demanded conclusion on Monday itself. (DH Photo)

In a drama that lasted till about midnight, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s confidence motion did not see the conclusion on Monday, and is now scheduled for Tuesday.  

“We have to close this on Tuesday before 6 pm. The discussion on the motion will be over by 4 pm and the voting will take place between 5 and 6 pm,” Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar said, lamenting that his own credibility was at stake. He adjourned the Assembly amid protests by the Opposition BJP, which demanded conclusion on Monday itself. 

The entire day was spent with the coalition raising a fresh bone of contention seeking to delay the process, which was that the two Independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh had moved the Supreme Court earlier in the day seeking to fix a specific time for the motion to be put to vote. 

“If there was faith in the Speaker, what was the need to move SC? There was no need. Yes, we had assured that the confidence motion will be completed. But since the MLAs have moved the SC and there are many members yet to speak, we will need more time,” Kumaraswamy said. 

He also alleged that his signature had been faked and a letter — purportedly his resignation — had been circulated on social media in the evening. “This is the level of dirty politics at play here,” he said. 

The coalition also tried taking shelter under the Speaker’s ruling on a point of order that Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah had raised — that his Constitutional right to issue a whip to rebel MLAs has been violated by the SC interim order. Pronouncing his ruling, the Speaker clarified that political parties had the right to issue a whip and it was up to the rebels to comply or not. “I come in when I receive a complaint stating that the whip had been defied. And I will act based on merits indiscriminately,” Kumar said.

This emboldened the coalition to seek more time. “We may have to give the rebels time to reconsider their decision. Maybe they want to come back,” KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao said. 

At one point, the Speaker faced backlash from his own family over the confidence motion getting dragged. He said he wanted to keep his word that the motion would see finality on Monday. But the drama went on till midnight. 

Around 10.30 pm, leader of the Opposition B S Yeddyurappa suggested that the session be adjourned for dinner only to resume. “We are willing to sit all night till the motion is finished,” he said. But coalition legislators created an uproar seeking adjournment of the session citing hunger and that many were diabetic.

At 11.40 pm, the Speaker adjourned the House. 

Earlier, as the Congress-JD(S) members tried to troop into the well of the House and raised slogans demanding adjournment, an enraged Speaker said that he would be forced to take an extreme decision that could be disastrous.

Since the House assembled around noon, there were enough indications that MLAs from the coalition were trying hard to to get the trust vote delayed. 

Leaders of the coalition made lengthy speeches to say that the BJP was destabilising the government by nudging the rebel MLAs to resign. 

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda charged the BJP with orchestrating the resignation of MLAs under  ‘Operation Lotus’. 

Detailing what he termed the various attempts made by BJP to lure Congress and JD(S) legislators away from the coalition fold, Byre Gowda accused the BJP of sabotaging the democratic process by indiscriminately poaching MLAs.

In all this, the BJP kept up its demand for a division of votes. “None of us will speak. Let them take all the time, but we want to be done with it,” Yeddyurappa said. BJP legislator J C Madhuswamy rued: “We have become a laughing stock. It’s like a theatre company.”