Karnataka political crisis: SC to hear plea in rebel MLAs' case tomorrow; Kumaraswamy may face Thursday trust vote

From the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the petition of five more rebel Karnataka MLAs, to the Congress asserting that state government will seek a trust vote in the Assembly on 18 July, fast-paced developments were seen on Monday.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submission of senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the five rebel MLAs, that they also be made parties to the pending petition, which is to be heard on Tuesday. The five rebel Congress MLAs had moved the Supreme Court on 13 July against Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar for not accepting their resignation. These MLAs are Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, N Nagaraj, Munirathna and Roshan Baig.

 Karnataka political crisis: SC to hear plea in rebel MLAs case tomorrow; Kumaraswamy may face Thursday trust vote

Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy with other coalition members during the Assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru. PTI

Last week, the apex court restrained the Speaker from taking any decision on the resignations and disqualification of 10 rebel MLAs of the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition till 16 July.

The 10 rebel MLAs, who moved the Supreme Court earlier alleging that the Speaker was not accepting their resignation, were Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, BC Patil, ST Somashekhar, Arbail Shivaram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, AH Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda.

BJP demands floor test

In the Karnataka Assembly, the BJP refused to participate in the proceedings till Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy took up the trust vote, prompting the Speaker to adjourn this House till Thursday.

Earlier, the BJP issued a notice to the Speaker during the Business Advisory Committee meeting, seeking to move the no confidence motion, party state general secretary CT Ravi told PTI. "Yes, we have given a notice to move a no-confidence motion," he said.

Ahead of the session, BJP lawmaker Suresh Kumar challenged Kumaraswamy to prove his majority to the state before proceeding with any other business of the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told ANI, "We stand by our demand(of floor test). The behaviour of Assembly Speaker and the chief minister is highly uncalled for and unacceptable. When the MLAs have personally handed Speaker their resignations, what inquiry does he want?" Earlier in the day, a meeting of the Congress Legislative Party was held at the Taj Vivanta in Bengaluru. Kumaraswamy had on Friday told the Speaker that he was ready to seek a trust vote or face a no-confidence motion during the session which will go on till 26 July. Congress leader Siddaramaiah told reporters that the trust vote will take place at 11 am on 18 July. "It is a numbers game, I am hopeful and confident that we will win the vote of confidence," he said. 

The Speaker is yet to make any announcement on the same. The Times of India, however, reported that the Speaker told the floor leaders he will take up trust vote after Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the resignation of rebel MLAs.

Rebel MLAs write to Mumbai Police

The rebel Karnataka MLAs staying at a Mumbai hotel wrote to the Mumbai Police chief, saying they don't want to meet senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge or any other party leader.

There have been speculations that Kharge, some other senior Congress leaders, and Kumaraswamy may visit Hotel Renaissance in Mumbai's Powai are where the rebel legislators are lodged.

In the letter to Mumbai Police chief, the rebel MLAs said they have "absolutely no intention of meeting Mallikarjun Kharge or Ghulam Nabi Azad or any other Congress dignitary". The MLAs in the letter said they feel threatened, and requested the police to stop any Congress leader from meeting them.

Leaders of the crisis-hit ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka on Sunday had held hectic parleys to discuss the future course of action to save the government. The embattled leaders continued with efforts to woo back some legislators who have resigned. However, the rebel legislators, who are camping in Mumbai, made it clear that they were united and "firm" on their resignations.

The Kumaraswamy-led government in Karnataka is on the brink of collapse with 16 MLAs — 13 of the Congress and three of the JD(S), resigning from their Assembly memberships. Two Independent MLAs have also withdrawn support to the state government and are supporting the Opposition BJP.

The ruling coalition's strength in the House is 116 (Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and BSP one), besides the Speaker. With the support of two Independents, the Opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House. If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will be reduced to 100. The Speaker has a vote, too.

Full timeline of Karnataka political crisis

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 15, 2019 17:40:22 IST