The Congress- JD (S) Karnataka government received an extension yesterday thanks to speaker KR Ramesh Kumar who decided to take at least six days for looking into the resignations of 13 MLAs. It should be noted that 10 MLAs from Congress and three MLAs from JD (S) submitted their resignations from the cabinet a few days ago putting the HD Kumaraswamy-led government into crisis.
SC Directs Rebel MLAs To Appear By 6 PM
The last couple of hours have seen a massive change in these overall developments with the Supreme Court directing these rebel MLAs to appear in person in front of the speaker before 6 pm today. SC has even asked speaker Ramesh Kumar to be available to all these rebel MLAs at once at the stipulated time.
Now, these MLAs who earlier allegedly said that the speaker had refused to meet them all together will be flying back to Bengaluru from Mumbai where they were holed up. The apex court led by CJ Ranjan Gogoi has asked the speaker to provide updates of the developments to the court tomorrow when it will resume hearing on the plea of rebel MLAs.
Earlier while talking to media the speaker said that he needs time to be convinced that the resignations are all genuine and voluntary. He further added, “Every step I take will become history, so I can’t be committing a mistake.”
Will This Move Save Kumaraswamy Govt.?
This Karnataka government received yet another blow yesterday after the suspended Congress MLA Roshan Baig also submitted his resignation. While coming out of the office of the speaker at Vidhana Soudha after submitting his resignation papers, Baig said, “I am not going to Mumbai or Delhi. Being the chairman of the state Haj committee, I am going to the airport to oversee arrangements for the pilgrims.”
The crisis for already disturbed Karnataka government has deepened further with the resignation of Baig. The BJP has the support of two independents and 1 BSP MLA taking its tally to 108 MLA’s. But the halfway mark in the 224-member House is 113. If Ramesh Kumar accepts the resignations of all the MLAs the tally of Congress-JD (S) will come down to 102.
According to the speaker, only five resignation letters out of 13 submitted on July 6 follow the prescribed format which belongs to K Gopalaiah, R Ramalinga Reddy, K Narayan Gowda, Anand Singh, and Pratap Gouda Patil.
Ramesh Kumar said that rest of the eight MLAs will have to resubmit their resignations. He further added that the governor of Karnataka Vajubhai R Vala sent him two letters on the current political developments in the state and have expressed his confidence that Ramesh Kumar will follow the constitutional norms as a speaker.
The governor has also suggested that he take up the resignations the earliest possible. Kumar continued, “The rules say only if the speaker is convinced that the resignations are voluntary and genuine, he can accept them. If everything happens through postal correspondence, then I’m not required at all.”
Resignations Acceptable Only In Prescribed Format
The House rules say that only the resignations that are in the prescribed format addressed to the speaker and handed over are acceptable. Few of the MLAs have submitted their resignations through the post which cannot be accepted. Ramesh Kumar has asked 5 MLAs whose resignations are in the correct format to appear before him on July 12 and 15.
He said, “I have to make a conscious decision. Every step I take will become history. Future generations should not look at me like an accused. Therefore, I’ll consider the feeling of the public, the Constitution, the rulebook and the spirit and interpretation of the law.”
Meanwhile, the attempts of troubleshooter DK Shivakumar at persuading the rebels to withdraw their resignations and accept a place in the cabinet as a return gift has failed. Both Shivakumar and JD (S) MLA KM Shivalinge Gowda who left for Mumbai yesterday were not allowed to meet the MLAs in the hotel.
According to Shivakumar, he was forcibly deported to Bengaluru. He said, “Mumbai is known for its hospitality. I had booked a room there and was on an official visit to meet my friends and colleagues, but BJP and officials misused their authority. It’s a matter of shame.”
Now the question is will the intervention by the Supreme Court change the mind of the rebel MLAs?