Even After Three Days Debate Fate Of Coalition Government In Karnataka Still Hung In The Balance

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New Delhi: The fate of Karnataka’s wobbly coalition government still hung in the balance as the debate on a trust vote in the Assembly entered its third working day and the speaker summoned rebel lawmakers whose resignations have pushed the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) administration to the brink of collapse.

The debate dragged on in the assembly well into Monday night with impatient Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members pressing for an end to the discussion, which began on Thursday.

Despite assurances by speaker KR Ramesh Kumar in the morning that the vote would be held during the day, the House was adjourned around 11.40pm without the floor test being conducted. Kumar promised that the trust vote will be held by 6pm Tuesday.

Two previous deadlines set by governor Vajubhai Vala for the vote were already breached on Friday. By Monday night, only five of the 26 MLAs scheduled to speak on the motion have finished their speeches.

“Everybody is watching us. Please don’t make me a scapegoat. Let us reach our goal,” Kumar said.

But pandemonium soon broke out with BJP legislators demanding a vote, and coalition MLAs asking the speaker to first decide on disqualification petitions against the rebel lawmakers. As tempers rose, coalition members shouted slogans saying, “We want justice, we want discussion,” forcing Kumar to adjourn proceedings for a while.

Former CM and BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa reminded the speaker of his commitment. “You had assured us that the vote would happen on Monday and we will sit here till late night, even past midnight, till the vote happens,” he said.

CM HD Kumaraswamy snubbed rumours of his resignation and said, “I got information that I have tendered my resignation to the governor. Someone has forged my signature. I’m shocked at the cheap publicity.”

The government slipped into a crisis two weeks ago after 16 lawmakers — 13 from the Congress and three from the JD(S) — resigned. Since then, one Congress MLA has signalled he would return to the party fold and two independent legislators have withdrawn support to the coalition. Kumar is yet to take a final call on accepting the resignation letters. As things stand in the 225-member assembly, the BJP has 105 members, the Congress-JD(S) coalition has the support of 100 MLAs, excluding Kumar. There are 15 rebel MLAs, two independents and one MLA from the BSP, while another is a nominated member. If the resignation letters of the rebel MLAs are accepted by the speaker, the government would be in a minority.

 

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