Karnataka government set for trust
vote amid boycott threat
Thursday, October 14, 2010 08:05:51 AM,
Karnataka is set for another trust vote Thursday, which the
opposition parties have threatened to boycott while the high court
Wednesday ruled that the result would be subject to its judgment
in the case relating to the disqualification of 16 rebel
legislators by assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah.
Though Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa managed to prove his
majority by a voice vote Monday amid chaos and confusion, the the
high court declining to stay the disqualifications gives the
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) an edge over the combined
opposition, as the strength of the 225-member legislative assembly
is reduced to 208, with 105 as the halfway mark to win the trust
After its 11 dissident legislators were disqualified Monday, the
strength of the ruling party is 106, including the speaker, while
the combined opposition has 101, with the Congress having 73 and
the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 28.
The lone independent Varthur Prakash, who was with the opposition
till Monday, jumped to the ruling party Wednesday to vote in
favour of the confidence motion, as he wanted the first
29-month-old BJP government in the southern state to complete its
In an attempt to defeat the government, the five disqualified
independents rushed to the high court for a direction to the
speaker to allow them to exercise their vote on the floor of the
house as their joint writ petition was pending and posted for
hearing Oct 18.
But a division bench of Chief Justice K.S. Khehar and Justice N.
Kumar declined to allow them to submit their votes in a sealed
cover to the court.
The division bench also rejected the independents' plea to
postpone the session, as Justice Khehar said they did not have the
power to direct the speaker.
The five independents, who were also cabinet ministers in the
34-member Yeddurappa government, are Shivaraj S. Tangadagi,
Venkataramanappa, P.M. Narendra Swamy, D. Sudhakar and Gulihatti
Earlier, the Congress and the JD-S slammed Governor H.R. Bhardwaj
for asking Yeddyurappa to take the floor test afresh a day after
he recommended president's rule in the state on the grounds that
there was a constitutional breakdown and that the Monday's trust
vote was not conducted in accordance with the legislature's rules.
"We are planning to boycott the trust vote session, as it is not
only unprecedented, but also unconstitutional on the part of the
governor to have called for it again when the case against the
disqualified legislators is pending in court," an enraged Congress
legislative party leader Siddaramiah told reporters here.
Echoing the Congress, JD-S state unit president and former chief
minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said his party legislators may also stay
away from the trust vote.
"The governor has already termed the trust vote taken through
voice Monday a farce and recommended president's rule, citing a
constitutional breakdown in the state, as the proceedings were
conducted against the rules amid chaotic scenes and confusion. How
can he (governor) ask the chief minister to take the floor test
again," a miffed Kumaraswamy asked after calling on Bhardwaj at
Raj Bhavan late Wednesday.
The division bench Tuesday posted the disqualification case of the
independents to Oct 18 after directing their counsel K.G. Raghavan
to re-submit the amended writ plea as the original petition was
The bench also reserved its judgment in the disqualification case
of the 11 BJP rebel legislators after their defence counsel and
the prosecution concluded arguments Tuesday.
Bopaiah disqualified the rebels Oct 11 in response to a petition
by the ruling party Oct 8 after they withdrew support to the
government, expressing lack of faith in the leadership of
The independents also challenged the speaker's directive to reply
to his show-cause notice in two days (Oct 10) as against the
mandatory seven days in accordance with the Karnataka
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