Karnataka Assembly trust vote updates: No floor test today; Speaker adjourns House till 11 am tomorrow

  • Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs 'ought not' to be compelled to participate in the proceedings.

  • The ruling coalition had held out the threat of using the Whip against the wayward MLAs.

  • The current political turbulence was triggered a fortnight ago, with a raft of resignations by rebel lawmakers.

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Karnataka Assembly trust vote updates: No floor test today; Speaker adjourns House till 11 am tomorrow
  • 18:56 (IST)

    Visuals from inside the Karnataka Assembly

  • 18:32 (IST)

    BJP to hold overnight dharna inside Assembly

    BJP MLAs will sit on an over night 'dharna' in the state Assembly over to demand that the Speaker reply to Governor Vajubhai Vala's letter and hold a floor test, ANI reported 

  • 18:29 (IST)

    No floor test today: Speaker adjourns House till 11 am tomorrow

    Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar adjourned the Karnataka Assembly till 11 am on Friday. The BJP is refusing to leave House and is reportedly planning to stay inside the premises overnight.

  • 18:23 (IST)

    Congress accuses BJP of trying to 'abduct' democracy

    The Congress lashed out at the BJP at a press conference over the situation in Karnataka. "BJP and its leaders are trying a broad-day abduction of democracy in Karnataka by using money and muscle power to tarnish the democratically elected Karnataka government," said Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala.

  • 18:01 (IST)

    Congress MLA says governor shouldn't interfere in House proceedings

    "Governor shall not interfere in the proceedings of session as per the Constitution. I request governor to not to intervene in the proceedings of the session," said MLA HK Patil in the Assembly.

  • 17:24 (IST)

    Yeddyurappa says session should be extended till midnight for trust vote

    "Even if it is midnight, let the trust vote be held today," Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa said in the Assembly.

  • 17:08 (IST)

    Governor asks Speaker to conduct trust vote today after BJP submits memorandum

    Governor Vajubhai Vala has asked Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to conduct the trust vote on Thursday itself. Vala's statement to Speaker said, "Motion of confidence is in consideration at the House. The chief minister is expected to maintain confidence of the House at all times. Consider trust vote by the end of the day." The Congress is reportedly against the direction, saying that there is no provision to allow the governor to direct a Speaker in this regard.

  • 16:38 (IST)

    BJP requests governor to direct Speaker to continue debate on vote of confidence

    A BJP delegation submitted a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala on the motion of confidence. Speaking to reporters, BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said, "The chief minister had fixed today (Thursday) for the vote of confidence, but when the motion was moved and the debate started, Siddaramaiah, Krishna Byre Gowda, and HK Patil moved point of orders. We have requested the governor to direct the Speaker to continue the debate on vote of confidence," he said.

  • 16:30 (IST)

    Shrimant Patil shifted to Mumbai's St George Hospital from Bombay Hospital

  • 16:22 (IST)

    'Step down CM': BJP claims Congress-JD(S) holding on to power without majority

    The Karnataka BJP continued its demand for the HD Kumaraswamy's resignation. "According to the Constitution, any government that doesn't have majority should step down. In Karnataka, Congress and JDS are holding on to power without majority. In their greed for power, they have disrespected the Constitution of this nation," it said.

  • 16:03 (IST)

    Karnataka Assembly adjourned till 4.30 pm

  • 15:56 (IST)

    Speaker asks home minister to submit report on MLA Shrimant Patil's 'abduction'

    Amid chaos in the Assembly over Patil being flown to Mumbai for treatment, Speaker directed Home Minister MB Patil to get in touch with Patil's family and submit a report by Friday. "It does not look natural. If the home minister can't ensure protection, I will talk to DGP," he said. "Our procedure is — you have to go to a government hospital when there is an emergency; medical board has to certify (the treatment). How do I know if this hospital in Mumbai exists?"

  • 15:49 (IST)

    Speaker says Shrimant Patil asked for permission to skip Assembly

    Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar told the Assembly that he has seen MLA Shrimant Patil’s medical report. "He took permission from me to skip Assembly. I won't use words like abduct (in report to Congress allegations). Aren't you all aware that people are watching you?" He also said that Patil's letter about his ill health did not have any date or letterhead. 

  • 15:47 (IST)

    Reports say BJP to meet governor later today against deliberate delay on trust vote 

    CNN-News18 is reporting that the BJP leaders have sought time to meet the Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala. The party will raise the issue of the Speaker and ruling coalition deliberately delaying the trust vote process. The party apparently wants the governor to se a timeframe within which the trust vote should be completed. 

  • 15:47 (IST)

    Dinesh Gundu Rao alleges BJP conspiracy in Shrimant Patil being flown to Mumbai for treatment

    As the Assembly discussed Shrimant Patil, senior Congress leader said, "There was hospital right next to resort where our MLAs are staying. Why was he (MLA Shrimant Patil) flown to Chennai and then to Mumbai for treatment? He is healthy, nothing is wrong with him. It's a conspiracy by BJP."

  • 15:43 (IST)

    DK Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah claim they have  evidence to prove BJP behind 'abduction' of Congress MLA Shrimant Patil 

    DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah have made explosive claims in the Assembly, stating that they have evidence that BJP is behind the 'abduction' of Congress MLA Shrimant Patil. 

  • 15:36 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: BJP mulls moving No Confidence motion as JD(S)-Congress seem to drag feet on trust vote

    Reports say that the BJP is considering the possibility of moving a No Confidence motion against the government if the Speaker does not conclude the trust vote soon. The party may also try approaching the governor and ask him to impose a time limit on the Speaker, within which to conduct the trust vote. 

  • 15:36 (IST)

    Chaos in Assembly as Congress flashes pictures of Shrimant Patil, alleges MLA was kidnapped 

     

    Chaos broke out in Karnataka after Congress leader DK Shivakumar alleged that Congress MLA Shrimat Patil, who went missing from Bengaluru resort on Wednesday, was kidnapped by the BJP leaders. The Congress leaders flashed Patil's picture, who turned up in a Mumbai hospital today, undergoing treatment for chest pain.   

  • 14:56 (IST)

    HD Revanna arrived at Karnataka Assembly barefoot

    Karnataka minister HD Revanna arrived at the Karnataka Assembly barefoot ahead of the trust vote on the Congress-JD(S) coalition government. 

  • 14:43 (IST)

    What is the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution?

    The Tenth Schedule, which was inserted in the Constitution by the Constitution (Fifty-Second Amendment) Act, 1985, popularly known as the "anti-defection law", provides for the disqualification of Members of Parliament and state legislatures who defect.

    Paragraph 2 of the Schedule says that “a member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified from being a member of the House… if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party; or if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by the political party… without obtaining… prior permission…"

  • 14:39 (IST)

    Siddaramaiah says floor test can't be held without clarification on SC order

     

    SC order has discussed about my rights as Congress Legislative Party leader to issue whip but I was not a respondent to present my concerns. As the outcome of anti-defection law has its implications on no-confidence motion, I would like to request to postpone the motion till we get clarification from the Supreme Court. 

  • 14:31 (IST)

    DK Shivakumar spotted bantering with BJP's B Sriramulu in Assembly during lunch break

  • 14:18 (IST)

    Speaker applies whip on all MLAs, Siddaramaiah gives 45-minute long speech on Point of Order, 20 MLAs skip proceedings, a recap of today's proceedings

    The discussion over the length of discussion on Motion of Trust became a major point of contention today as the BJP appeared clearly desperate to leverage its position of majority while the Congress-JD(S) seemed adamant to buy more time with the ruling party leaders poised to make lengthy speeches. 

    Siddaramaiah alone spoke for over 45 minutes, while he had risen to speak merely to introduce a point of order. The BJP leaders objected to this, with several rounds of heated exchanges taking place in between. The party was apparently in majority as of today, with 20 MLAs skipping the proceedings, which brought down the quorum to 2014.

    The Speaker, meanwhile, ruled that he will not interfere with Congress leader's right to issue a whip to his party members, stating that a whip applies on all MLAs. This indicated that the speaker might be in favour of disqualifying the rebel MLAs if the Congress approached him for the same. 

  • 14:00 (IST)

    Can't hold floor test without clarification on SC order, says Siddaramaiah

    Siddaramaiah  said that the Supreme Court order influences MLAs who are not attending the House and the proceedings. "When a vote of confidence is taken up, they will not be here. This is a huge setback for the coalition. I seek clarification on this."

    Siddaramaiah has also said that it will not be correct to take up the vote of confidence till there is clarity on this matter.

  • 13:54 (IST)

    Assembly adjourned till 3 pm after Congress-JD(S)-BJP's heated debate on Motion of Trust

    The Karataka Assembly has been adjourned. The House will meet again at 3 pm. 

  • 13:41 (IST)

    List of MLAs absent from the Karnataka Assembly today

    1) Byrathi Basavaraj 
    2) Munirathna
    3) ST Somashekar
    4) Ramesh Jarkiholi 
    5) Roshan Baig 
    6) Srimanth Patil 
    7) Anand Singh 
    8) B Nagendra  
    9) R Shankar 
    10) K Gopalaiah 
    11) Narayana Gowda 
    12) MTB Nagaraj 
    13) BC Patil 
    14) H Vishwanath 
    15) Mahesh Kumthahalli 
    16) Prathap Gouda Patil 
    17) Dr Sudhakar 
    18) Shivaram Hebbar
    19) N Mahesh
    20) Nagesh

  • 13:33 (IST)

    Reports say Congress-JD(S) likely to stretch discussion till Monday to buy more time 

    CNN-News18 reports quoting sources that the Congress-JD(S) strategy is to stretch the discussion at least till end of the day, Friday so that it gets the time over weekend to win back some of its rebel MLAs. 

  • 13:15 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: How the numbers stack up right now?

    According to The News Minute, 20 MLAs are not present in the Assembly. These include 15 rebel MLAs, two Independents, two Congress MLAs and the lone BSP MLA. The strength of the House, thus, is 204. The new majority mark, as things stand, is 103. The BJP has 105 MLAs. All of the saffron party’s MLAs are present.

  • 13:09 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: Yeddyurappa demands trust vote should take place immideately 

    BS Yeddyurappa has said that the trust vote should be taken up without delay as there is no need for prolonged discussion on the issue, when the chief minister himself has admitted he does not have the desired support to remain in power,.  

  • 13:01 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: Speaker drops hint he may disqualify rebel MLAs, says whip will be applicable on all MLAs 

    Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar has allowed for a whip to be applied on all MLAs in the Karnataka legislative Assembly. "This house holds the Supreme Court in the highest esteem. Simultaneously, let me make it abundantly clear to the CLP leader that this office is not restraining you (him) from doing or exercising any of (his) authorities. I have no role to play in that," the Speaker said. 

    This means that even the rebel MLAs are bound by party whip, which means that if they fail to broker peace with their party they may face disqualification. Once disqualified, the MLAs cannot get a ministerial berth through the legislative assembly route, they will have to contest polls once again to get re-elected to the House. 

  • 12:41 (IST)

    Constitutional experts argue SC order allowing rebel MLAs to defy whip contradicts Constitution's 10th Schedule 

     

    In an article on Livelaw, Manu Sebastian has written that this second part of the order effectively conflicts with the Tenth Schedule, as it effectively authorises the rebel MLAs to disregard the party whip.

    But that point aside, lawyer Gautam Bhatia further argues that the order comes up notably short when compared to the basic tenet of making it hardest for political parties to subvert democracy. In a blog post, he states: "The Court’s attempted “balance” is to give both parties freedom to act: the Speaker has the freedom to decide on the petitions, while the rebel MLAs have the freedom not to attend the proceedings of the House. However, on closer scrutiny, this balance is not a balance at all, as the second part of the order – on the issue of attending the proceedings of the House – effectively and presumptively holds the resignations to be valid until and unless the Speaker decides otherwise. This is because it is only if the resignations were valid would the party whip – and thereby the Tenth Schedule – cease to apply. In all other circumstances, the rebel MLAs defiance of the whip would be subject to disqualification under the Tenth Schedule."

  • 12:33 (IST)

    'Congress misusing floor of house to buy time, party making statements fit for election rallies' says BJP's  Jagadish Shettar 

    BJP leader Jagadish objected to Siddaramaiah making a lengthy speech while raising a point of order and asked the speaker to make CLP be specific. He said that Siddaramaiah is misusing the platform to say things that are more suitably discussed in a public meeting or an election rally just to delay the vote. 

  • 12:27 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: 21 MLAs absent from Karnataka Assembly as house debates Motion of Trust 

    Apart from  the 15 rebel MLAs and 2 independents, Congress MLAs Nagendra and Srimanth B Patil have also abstained from attending the Assembly session. BSP MLA N Mahesh is also not present in the House during trust motion. One BJP MLA is also missing from the Assembly session, News 18 reported. 

  • 12:15 (IST)

    Meanwhile... two more Congress MLAs missing from House 
     
     
    Apart from  the 15 rebel MLAs and 2 independents, Congress MLAs Nagendra and Srimanth B Patil have also abstained from attending the Assembly session. BSP MLA N Mahesh is also not present in the House during trust motion. 

  • 12:08 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: 'Missing' Congress MLA Shrimant Patil lands up in Mumbai hospital with complaint of chest pain 

     

    The political drama unfolding in Karnataka is far from over. Congress MLA Shrimant Balasaheb Patil, who had gone 'missing' from the Windflower Prakruthi Resort in Bengaluru ahead of the crucial floor test in Karnataka Assembly on Thursday, was today found in Mumbai. He is currently admitted to a hospital in Mumbai after he complained of chest pain.

  • 12:00 (IST)

    Speaker restores order in house, says Siddaramaiah making a case for his contention 

     

    Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has said that he appreciates that Siddaramaiah is only making a case for the point of order he intends to intriduce. He said that he will Opposition members also the chance to speak. 

  • 11:59 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: Ruckus over Siddaramaiah's 'lengthy' prologue on a Point of Order, MLAs term it 'delaying tactics'

     

    BJP members have taken objection to what they call delaying tactics by Siddaramaiah. The MLAs said that Siddaramaiah cannot take an entire day to introduce one point of order just to save his government. Loud protests and angry exchanges from both sides follow. 

  • 11:54 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update:  Siddaramaiah pitches for democratic reforms in prologue to point of order; come to the point, says BJP  

     

    Congress’ Siddaramaiah rose to speak with a poin of order but after citing the rule he veered off to recounting an incident when a MLA had defected political parties thrice in a single day. He then spoke about Gandhian principles in a democracy, batting for reforms in politics of defections. The BJP leaders loudly objected to this stating that this was merely a delaying tactics as Siddaramaiah has not yet mentioned what was the point of order that he wanted to raise. 

  • 11:46 (IST)

    After HDK, Siddaramaiah speaks in Assembly

    Congress Legislative Party leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah has risen to speak in the Assembly. Siddaramaiah recounts an incident when a MLA had defected political parties thrice in a single day. 

  • 11:39 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: Want to tell everyone, who is destabilising Karnataka govt, says HD Kumaraswamy 

    I want to bring out to the notice of the entire country, who is behind the destabilising this government time and again, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said ahead of the floor test in Vidhana Soudha.

  • 11:36 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update:  Lets discuss all issues threadbare, says HD Kumaraswamy as he gives his speech on Motion of Trust 

     

    It seems Opposition leader is in urgency. There should be a discussion. Why have we reached this stage today? I don’t want to discuss what the Supreme Court has said. I can't say that you have to finish discussion within a particular time frame. Lets discuss all issues threadbare now that we are here, so that the entire country gets to know how this government managed to fucntion under such circumstances when the BJP was constantly trying to unseat it. 

  • 11:31 (IST)

    Karnataka Trust Vote Latest Update:  BS Yeddyurappa, HDK engage in back and forth over length of debate on Motion of Trust 

     

    BS Yeddyurappa, the BJP's president in state and the chief minister hopeful rose to speak before the Motion of Trust was tabled. He said that he would request the Speaker to allot time to MLAs judicially so that the trust vote is held today itself. 

    When HD Kumaraswamy rose to speak, he countered this by stating that it was important that each and every MLA gets a chance to clarify their position. "But why are you in such a hurry to conduct the trust vote," Kumaraswamy asked Yeddyurappa. 

  • 11:16 (IST)

    Karnataka Floor Test Latest Update: BSP MLA to abstain from floor test

    In an important development, that partially seems to favour the BJP as of now, the lone Bahujan Samaj  Party MLA has said he will abstain from participating in the floor test. The Times of India quoted N Mahesh as saying that he will not be participating in the Assembly proceedings. 

    This will in part favour BJP as the BSP MLA had earlier extended outside support to the Congress-JD(S) coallition earlier. 

  • 11:01 (IST)

    Congress-JD(S) banks on buying more time, govt's fate in hands of fickle turncoats, volatile Independent MLAs  

     

    Speculations suggest that it is in Congress-JD(S)' favour if the Motion of Trust is not put to vote today, The alliance government is banking on turning the two Independent MLAs who remain in Bengaluru and who had earlier stated that they will not support the government. The government is also trying hard to convince more rebel MLAs, especially those who have a history of changing sides frequently, to vote for it when the motion is put to vote. 

  • 10:55 (IST)

    HD Kumaraswamy, Speaker KR Ramesh arrive in Assembly; proceedings to start shortly

    Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Speaker KR Ramesh have reached Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru moments before the Motion of Trust will be laid on the table. The proceedings are expected to start at 11 am.  

  • 10:46 (IST)

    Experts say Speaker not bound to put Motion of Confidence to vote today; Congress may buy extra time to convince more MLAs 

     

    Political pundits and constitutional experts opined that the Speaker is not bound to put to vote the Motion of Confidence to vote today itself. A debate will be held first, after introducing the motion and the debate can continue throughout the day, if enough number of MLAs express a desire to speak for, or against the motion.

    Past precedents from Karnataka, and elsewhere, show that time is of great essence when the political slugfest to retain/ grab power boils down to sheer numbers in the House. The Congress, which got a chance to nominate its member as the speaker at the start of the government's term, might squeeze in a chance to buy more time to rope in the usual volatile faces to its side. 

  • 10:19 (IST)

    BS Yeddyurappa, Siddaramaiah reach Vidhan Soudha ahead of trust vote 

    Key leaders have started arriving at the Vidhan Soudha premises ahead of the 11 am trust vote. Siddaramaiah, BS Yeddyurappa were seen entering the premises.  

  • 10:14 (IST)

    BJP confident of govt losing trust vote, but maintains cautious silence on its future course of action

    The BJP is banking on Karnataka coallition government losing the trust vote, after to stake claim to form the government, replacing the Speaker after giving 14 days notice and then annulling the disqualification process initiated against the truant MLAs named by the Congress and JD(S).

    Official BJP sources told CNN-News18 that the party is confident of defeating the Congress-JD(S) coalition in today's trust vote. "Delaying tactics won’t help the HDK govt. We are prepared for more delays even today," a source said, adding that the question of staking claim doesn't arrive at the moment since the party has 105 MLAS, along with the support of independents. 

  • 09:53 (IST)

    How will the trust vote proceed?

    The Assembly proceedings will begin at 11.00 am today. 

    • Firstly, a discussion on the confidence motion is likely to be held
    • The Speaker will then put the motion to vote. 
    • Once the voting procedure begins, no member will be allowed to enter or leave the hall
    • Apart from the regular voting by electronic device, the Speaker may seek a division of votes by row. This will be held for both, for and against the motion. 

  • 09:49 (IST)

    Section 144 imposed within 2km radius of Vidhan Soudha ahead of trust vote, say reports

    India Today TV reports that the Bengaluru police has decided to impose restrictions under Section 144 around 2 kilometre radius of the Vidhan Soudha. The state Assembly is expected to witness a high-drama trust vote at 11 am today

Karnataka Assembly trust vote Latest Updates: The floor test will not be held on Thursday as Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has adjourned the House till 11 am on Friday. Governor Vajubhai Vala earlier the asked Speaker to conduct the trust vote on Thursday itself. In the Assembly, Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa also said, "Even if it is midnight, let the trust vote be held today."

A BJP delegation submitted a memorandum to Governor Vajubhai Vala on the motion of confidence. Speaking to reporters, BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said, "The chief minister had fixed today (Thursday) for the vote of confidence, but when the motion was moved and the debate started, Siddaramaiah, Krishna Byre Gowda, and HK Patil moved point of orders. We have requested the governor to direct the Speaker to continue the debate on vote of confidence," he said.

Amid chaos in the Assembly over MLA Shrimant Patil being flown to Mumbai for treatment, Speaker directed Home Minister MB Patil to get in touch with the MLA's family and submit a report by Friday. "It does not look natural. If the home minister can't ensure protection, I will talk to DGP," he said. "Our procedure is — you have to go to a government hospital when there is an emergency; medical board has to certify (the treatment). How do I know if this hospital in Mumbai exists?"

Chaos broke out in Karnataka after Congress leader DK Shivakumar alleged that Congress MLA Shrimat Patil, who went missing from Bengaluru resort on Wednesday, was kidnapped by the BJP leaders. The Congress leaders flashed Patil's picture, who turned up in a Mumbai hospital today, undergoing treatment for chest pain.

"Supreme Court order has discussed about my rights as Congress Legislative Party leader to issue whip but I was not a respondent to present my concerns. As the outcome of anti-defection law has its implications on no-confidence motion, I would like to request to postpone the motion till we get clarification from the Supreme Court," Siddaramaiah said.

As of today, 15 rebel MLAs, 2 independents, 2 Congress MLAs, and 1 BSP MLA are not in the Assembly. That brings the quorum down to 204 including Speaker, which means that a party needs 103 MLAs to win in today's vote. If the voting is conducted today, BS Yeddyurappa lead BJP has every chance of coming out victorious as it has the support of 105 MLAS

Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar has allowed for a whip to be applied on all MLAs in the Karnataka legislative Assembly. "This house holds the Supreme Court in the highest esteem. Simultaneously, let me make it abundantly clear to the CLP leader that this office is not restraining you (him) from doing or exercising any of (his) authorities. I have no role to play in that," the Speaker said.

Why are you in the hurry to conduct a trust vote, HD Kumaraswamy asked in the Karnataka Assembly. He said that given the circumstances, the country has a write to listen to each and every MLA who wants to clarify his position on the trust vote.

In an important development, that partially seems to favour the BJP as of now, the lone Bahujan Samaj Party MLA has said he will abstain from participating in the floor test. The Times of India quoted N Mahesh as saying that he will not be participating in the Assembly proceedings.

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Speaker KR Ramesh have reached Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru moments before the Motion of Trust will be laid on the table. The proceedings are expected to start at 11 am.

BJP’s state unit chief BS Yeddyurappa, after arriving at Vidhana Soudha said, "We are 101 percent confident. They are less than 100, we are 105. There is no doubt that their motion will be defeated."

The BJP is banking on Karnataka coalition government losing the trust vote, after to stake claim to form the government, replacing the Speaker after giving 14 days notice and then annulling the disqualification process initiated against the truant MLAs named by the Congress and JD(S).

Reports say that the Bengaluru police has decided to impose restrictions under Section 144 around 2 kilometre radius of the Vidhan Soudha. The state Assembly is expected to witness a high-drama trust vote at 11 am today

Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh said that the verdict of the Supreme Court should not be seen as a ticket to do whatever. He said the judgment has in fact increased his responsibility.

The Congress-JDS government in Karnataka is hanging by a thread ahead of the floor test on 18 July, with the rebel MLAs refusing to yield after the Supreme Court held they cannot be compelled to attend the Assembly session to decide the ruling coalition's fate.

As the coalition with truncated strength struggled to shore up its numbers amid fading hopes, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs "ought not" to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing session of the state Assembly.

The court verdict was interpreted in political circles as a relief for the rebel lawmakers, as it categorically said an option should be given to them as to whether they wanted to take part or stay out of the Assembly proceedings.

The ruling coalition had held out the threat of using the Whip against the wayward MLAs, citing the disqualification provision under the anti-defection law.

Armed with the court order, the rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs camping in Mumbai said there was no question of stepping back on their resignations or attending the session.

"We are happy with the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court, we honour it," rebel Congress MLA BC Patil said in a video released to the media, further receding the hopes of the ruling coalition to win them back to their fold.

Flanked by 11 other Congress-JD(S) MLAs who have quit, Patil said, "We all are together and whatever decision we have taken...at any cost no question of going back (on resignations). We stand by our decision. No question of going to Assembly."

As the spotlight turned on the Supreme Court, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the Speaker was free to decide on the resignations of the rebel MLAs within the time-frame decided by him.

 Karnataka Assembly trust vote updates: No floor test today; Speaker adjourns House till 11 am tomorrow

Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy. PTI

The apex court was hearing the plea of 15 rebel MLAs of Congress and JD(S), seeking a direction to the Speaker to accept their resignations from the Assembly.

Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar welcomed the Supreme Court decision, giving him freedom to decide on the resignations of rebel MLAs, and said he would conduct himself responsibly in accordance with the principles of the Constitution.

"With utmost humility I welcome and respect the Supreme Court decision," he said soon after the apex court pronounced its order on the crisis that has pushed the state into a welter of political confusion and chaos.

"The Supreme Court has put extra burden on me, I will conduct myself responsibly in accordance with constitutional principle," he told reporters in Kolar, his home town.

The Speaker has, however, not given any indications about the time frame within which he would decide on the resignations.

As many as 16 MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from JD(S) — have resigned, while independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government, putting the coalition government in jitters.

Meanwhile Congress has pressed for disqualification of 13 MLAs, including independent R Shankar, who had merged his Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party with it.

The other Congress MLAs include Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, Shivram Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Byrati Basavaraj, Anand Singh, Roshan Baig, Munirathna, K Sudhakar and MTB Nagaraj.

Disqualification petition had been moved against Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumatalli earlier itself.

The ruling coalition's strength in the House is 117 — Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, and nominated 1, besides the speaker.

With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 225-member House, including the nominated MLA and Speaker.

If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will plummet to 101, reducing the 13 month-old Kumaraswamy government to a minority.

Congress' pointsman and minister DK Shivakumar maintained that the party can issue a whip to ensure the presence of all the party MLAs in the House and take necessary action against them for any violation.

He accused some BJP leaders of trying to misguide that the whip is not valid.

Happy with the verdict, Karnataka BJP president BS Yeddyurappa said it was a "moral victory" for the rebel MLAs.

"I welcome the Supreme Court decision. It is a victory of the Constitution and democracy. It is a moral victory for rebel MLAs," he said.

But the Congress in Karnataka slammed the Supreme Court order as a "bad judgment", which seemed to protect the defectors and encourage horse-trading.

"The #SupremeCourt verdict is now encroaching upon the rights of the Legislature. This is a bad judgement which seems to protect the defectors and encourages horse trading and also violating the doctrine of separation of powers," KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said in a series of tweets.

A joint delegation of the coalition, including Kumaraswamy and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, met the Speaker and told him the Supreme Court had restricted their right to issue a whip, but "we have the right to impose a whip."

Speaking to reporters after the meeting with the Speaker, senior minister Krishna Byregowda said the apex court had stated that attending or not attending the session was left to the MLAs, but the assembly rules state that the legislators had to seek permission for their absence.

"We have asked the Speaker if this relaxation has been granted," he said.

Kumaraswamy, who served as chief minister for 20 months in 2006-07 at the head of a JD(S)-BJP government, became the chief minister for a second term in May last year.

The 59-year old son of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda managed to be back at the helm with the support of the Congress after the May 2018 Assembly polls threw up a fractured mandate, with BJP emerging as the single largest party, but falling short of numbers to be in power.

The current political turbulence was triggered a fortnight ago, with a raft of resignations by rebel lawmakers, unhappy with the coalition for a variety of reasons, from not getting ministerial berths to "dominance" of the Deve Gowda family.

A humiliating defeat for the ruling coalition in the Lok Sabha polls that saw them win only two of the 28 seats in Karnataka, with BJP walking away with 25 and an independent backed by it with one, only exacerbated simmering tensions.

Updated Date: Jul 18, 2019 20:10:10 IST