The newly-formed BJP government in Karnataka headed by BS Yediyurappa established a majority in the Assembly on Monday after the chief minister moved a confidence motion on his government. Amid wishes, clarifications and allegations of "not having the people's mandate" from the Opposition, the Yediyurappa government won the trust vote by a voice note.
Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar announced his resignation soon after the outcome of the trust vote in a process lasting less than an hour after the House met.
With the BJP comfortably placed in the numbers game after the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs that reduced the effective strength of the House, the Opposition Congress and JD(S) did not press for the division of votes. The Speaker declared that the one-line motion expressing confidence in the Ministry headed by Yediyurappa had been adopted by the House.
On Sunday, Kumar had disqualified 11 Congress MLAs and three JD(S) lawmakers till the end of the current term of the House in 2023, in addition to three earlier, bringing down the majority mark to 105, equivalent of the current strength of 105 of the BJP, which also enjoyed the support of an Independent.
The Congress has 66 members, JD(S) 34, the Speaker one (who has a casting vote in case of a tie) and one expelled BSP member who was thrown out of the party for violating its directive to support the HD Kumaraswamy government during the trust vote on 23 July.
The Speaker's action on Sunday came as a big relief to the BJP which emerged triumphant, as was likely. Two rebel Congress ex-MLAs also approached the Supreme Court on Monday petitioning against the Speaker's decision to disqualify them.
The Speaker’s resignation, after a 14-month long tenure in office, was also likely amid reports that the BJP was mulling moving a no-confidence motion against him.
"I have decided to relieve myself from this office... I have decided to resign," Kumar said and handed over his resignation letter to the Deputy Speaker Krishna Reddy. Kumar said as the Speaker, he had worked according to his "conscience" and in accordance with the Constitution. "I have upheld the dignity of office to the best of my ability," he added.
Moving the confidence motion, Yediyurappa said he would not indulge in "politics of vengeance" and believed in the "forget and forgive principle." He said the administrative machinery had collapsed and his priority was to bring it back on track.
"My becoming the chief minister is according to expectations of the people," said Yediyurappa who succeeded Kumaraswamy whose 14-month old government collapsed under the weight of a rebellion by a section of the coalition MLAs.
Seventeen rebel MLAs (Congress-14 and JDS-3) had skipped the Assembly session during the trust vote proceedings on 23 July, bringing down the Kumaraswamy government which lost the confidence motion with 99 members voting in favour and 105 against it.
Yediyurappa said he has assumed office in a difficult situation with the state facing drought. "The administrative machinery has collapsed... my priority is to bring it back on track," he said.
"There is a drought (in the state). I want to address farmers' issues. I have decided to give 2 instalments of Rs 2,000 to beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Yojana from the state's side. I appeal to the opposition that we must work together. I appeal to the House to unanimously express confidence in me," Yediyurappa said.
He also said, "I will not indulge in politics of vengeance. I believe in the ‘forgive and forgive’ principle." Yediyurappa also sought the cooperation of the Opposition.
Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said the Yediyurappa government was "unconstitutional and immoral" and expressed doubts about its longevity.
"We are elected to work for the people and we must try to do that. I attempted this as the Chief Minister and so did HD Kumaraswamy. Yediyurappa said that administration has come to a standstill and he wants to rectify that. It was not the case. In coalition, we worked towards bringing to force common minimum programme," he said.
"You have no mandate of the people," Siddaramaiah told Yediyurappa. "Unfortunately, Yediyurappa has never been the chief minister with the people's mandate. Where's the mandate? You didn't have it in 2008, 2018 or even now. When he took the oath, there were 222 MLAs in House, where did BJP have 112 MLAs for a majority? They had 105 seats. That is not mandated," the former chief minister remarked.
"Let us see how long you will be (the chief minister)... I want you to be the chief minister for the full term but I don't think you will be able to complete the term," Siddaramaiah told Yediyurappa. JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy took exception to Yediyurappa's charge that the administrative machinery had collapsed and said it was a "baseless" one, which did not behove the chief minister.
"I won't comment on the ways you have come to power..," Kumaraswamy said, adding, "you have come to power through conspiracy." He asked the chief minister to reveal how the administrative machinery had collapsed.
"You have come to power through politics of conspiracy... at least now save democracy," Kumaraswamy told Yediyurappa, adding his party would not try to destabilise the BJP government. He said the JDS opposed the confidence motion as BJP had come to power through "unconstitutional means."
The House also passed the Appropriation Bill, seeking a vote on account for three months. The Finance Bill (Appropriation Bill) needed to be passed "urgently", as otherwise "we will not be able to draw funds even to pay salaries (of government employees)," Yediyurappa had said on Sunday.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 29, 2019 14:45:04 IST