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Karnataka governor sets 1:30 pm trust deadline for HD Kumarswamy

Minister in the Kumaraswamy cabinet D K Shivakumar confirmed receipt of the Governor's letter to Chief Minister.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jul 19, 2019, 08.57 AM IST
HD Kumaraswamy​
H D Kumaraswamy asked to prove majority by 1.30 pm tomorrow.
BENGALURU: Karnataka governor VR Vala set a deadline of 1:30 pm on Friday for HD Kumaraswamy to prove the majority of his government in the assembly, after the House adjourned on Thursday without deciding on a motion of confidence moved by the chief minister.

The late evening communication to the CM came after Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar ignored an earlier message from the governor, suggesting that the House consider completing the process of trust vote “by the end of the day (Thursday).”

“The proceedings of the House on 18-07-2019 for vote of confidence has been stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality. This cannot go on in a democratic set up governed by the Constitution of India,” Vala wrote to the CM, with a copy to the Speaker. In the earlier note to the Speaker, Vala said a CM “is expected to maintain confidence of the house at all times during his tenure.”

A five-member BJP delegation had visited the governor earlier in the day, and expressed lack of faith in the Speaker. The opposition party demanded that voting on the motion of confidence be held on Thursday itself. As the Speaker refused to give in, BJP said its members would stay overnight in the assembly as a mark of protest.

During the proceedings, BJP members, including opposition leader BS Yeddyurappa and JC Madhuswamy, urged the Speaker to restrict himself to finishing the listed agenda for the day. The party has kept the option of moving the Supreme Court open for an early end to the political stalemate in the state, BJP sources said.

The BJP was in a belligerent mood after it figured out that voting on the motion was not going to happen on Thursday. This became evident when Congress floor leader Siddaramaiah raised a point of order. He requested the Speaker to postpone the trust vote until the Supreme Court clarified on his powers as the Congress legislature party leader to issue whip to his party members under the anti-defection law. Nullification of the whip-issuing powers could adversely influence the outcome of the trust motion, he argued.

Congress members raised also the issue of one of their MLAs, Shrimant Patil (Kagwad), not being present in the assembly because, they alleged, BJP had “abducted” him from the Bengaluru city. This set off heated arguments between the opposition and the treasury benches. “We will continue to press for voting tomorrow. What the Congress raised are issues it ought to have raised before the Supreme Court, and they are beyond the scope of the assembly,” BJP spokesperson S Suresh Kumar told ET. “We will not allow any attempts to hijack the vote of confidence.”

In the 224-member assembly, 15 MLAs have submitted their resignations from the house, reducing the effective strength of the House to 209 though the Speaker has yet to accept their resignations. On Thursday, two Congress members were absent: B Nagendra (Ballari Rural) was in hospital, while Patil sent a letter seeking leave of absence citing health reasons. BSP MLA N Mahesh, who until now supported the government, stayed away.

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