Karnataka crisis: Congress wants MLAs resignation issue resolved before confidence motion
Bengaluru: Congress Monday made a strong plea to the Speaker in the Karnataka Assembly not to put to vote the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy till the chair decides on the resignations to the House submitted by the rebel lawmakers.
The Congress' position was stated during the debate on the confidence motion by senior Minister Krishna Byre Gowda who said that taking up the voting without the Speaker's decision on the resignation issue would leave the confidence motion process without any sanctity.
"We are in an extraordinary situation... I request the chair to decide on the resignation first. Or else, it will (confidence vote) will have no standing," Gowda said, as the debate on the trust vote dragged on for the third day. "Is the resignation voluntary and genuine. Aren't they against democracy?" he said.
The BJP is suspecting that the voting is being delayed by the Congress-JDS government only to buy time to win back the rebel legislators, whose resignations have pushed it to the precipice.
The JDS-Congress government has defied the two deadlines set by Governor Vajubhai Vala, who has said in his two missives to the chief minister that he has "prima facie satisfaction" that he has lost the confidence of the House.
Mounting an attack on the BJP-led government at the Centre, Gowda charged that there was a "systematic effort" to eliminate the "political opposition" in the country and the operation in Karnataka by BJP was part of such an attempt.
Alleging that there was an "undeclared emergency" in the country, Gowda told the BJP, "the blood of democracy is on your hands." He also appealed to the rebel lawmakers to reconsider their stand.
Elaborating on the alleged BJP operation to topple the government, he said Congress MLA B C Patil had in a telephonic conversation with a BJP leader talked about money and ministerial position.
As BJP leader Jagadish Shettar objected to the charge, Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar asked the member to produce documentary evidence before making any allegation.
As many as 16 MLAs -- 13 from the Congress and three from JDS-- had resigned, while independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government, pushing the government to the precipice.
One Congress member Ramalinga Reddy retracted from his decision to resign, saying he would support the government. The ruling combine's strength 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 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and three from JDS) are accepted or if they stay away, the ruling coalition's tally will plummet to 101, reducing the government to a minority.