Fri, 24 Jan 2020

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], July 18 (ANI): Suspense over the fate of the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka continued after the Assembly was adjourned abruptly in the midst of a debate on the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy following an uproar over Governor Vajubhai Vala's direction to the Speaker that the business of trust vote be completed by Thursday night.

Shortly after the adjournment, the BJP, which has been gunning for the coalition government, decided to stage night-long dharna in the Assembly demanding Speaker's reply to the Governor's letter and the floor test.

There was much drama during the debate that saw heated exchanges between the two sides over Supreme Court's order yesterday allowing freedom to the 15 rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs to participate or not in the proceedings of the Assembly.

A spate of points of order were raised by both the sides and the Speaker K R Ramesh kumar had a hard time steering the proceedings.

He repeatedly maintained that the Constitution was supreme and he would act in accordance with its provisions in a judicious and impartial manner.

As the debate went on, a BJP delegation headed by former minister Jagdish Shettar rushed to the Raj Bhavan and met the Governor seeking completion of the business today itself.

This was followed by a direction from the Governor to the Speaker that the government should enjoy the confidence of the house at all times and that the business of confidence vote be complete tonight itself.

Senior Congress leader H K Patil questioned the Governor's action in sending a message and asked him not to "interfere" in the House proceedings.

"Governor might not have sent direction, it might be wrongly sent but this amounts to the interference in this house. The governor shall not interfere in the proceedings of this house. We have seen that the Governor's representative is present here, We welcome the person but we should have come to know of this," Patil said.

The Speaker acknowledged that he received the message from Governor about ensuring that the confidence is tested today.

"The motion of confidence moved is in consideration at the house. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is expected to maintain the confidence of the house at all times. I send a message to consider trust vote by the end of the day," Vala said in a message to the Speaker.

As a furore over the issue with BJP members demanding that the confidence motion be put to vote immediately, the Chair adjourned the House till tomorrow.

The BJP announced that its members will spend the night in the House in protest.

Earlier in the day, moving the confidence motion, the Chief Minister made a passionate speech saying "I haven't come just because there is a question on whether I can run a coalition government or not. Events have shown that even the role of the Speaker has been put in jeopardy by some legislators."Accusuing the BJP of engineering chaos in Karnataka, Kumaraswamy claimed that the dissenting legislators had moved the apex court with BJP's assistance.

"A situation has been created so that people lose trust in us. Without any discussion they wanted a trust vote", he said.

Asserting that he will prove his majority in the house, the Chief Minister said "I have self-respect and so do my ministers. I have to make some clarifications. Who is responsible for destabilising this government?"Karnataka BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa, in his speech, said the voting should be held today. "Even if it is 12 midnight, let the trust vote be held today," he said.

18 MLAs were not present in the Assembly as the House took up the vote of confidence for debate.

The MLAs who were absent include Byrathi Basavaraj, Munirathna, S T Somashekar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Roshan Baig, Srimanth Patil, Anand Singh, B Nagendra, R Shankar, K Gopalaiah, Narayana Gowda, M T B Basavaraj, B C Patil, H Vishwanath, Mahesh Kumthahalli, Prathap Gouda Patil, Dr Sudhakar and Shivaram Hebbar.

Earlier, the Speaker had sought a detailed report from Home Minister M B Patil on rebel Congress MLA Shrimant Patil, who was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai after he complained of chest pain on Wednesday.

Expressing concern over the images shared in the House, Kumar observed that the situation "does not look natural". Photos showed several wired electrodes pasted on the Patil's chest.

"What kind of a Speaker I would be if I proceed with this document (letter sent by Congress MLA Shrimant Patil informing about his ill health) which has no date or letterhead," Kumar said in the Assembly.

"Please contact the family members of Shrimant Patil (Congress MLA) immediately. Give a detailed report to me by tomorrow. Ask them if they know anything about this. Has he had a medical problem in the past or is it the first time. it does not look natural. If Home Minister can't ensure protection, I will talk to DGP," he said adding was there no hospital in Bengaluru for treatment.

This followed minister D K Shivakumar displaying photos of Shrimant Patil and charged the BJP with abducting him from Bengaluru by taking him to Chennai first and then to Mumbai.

Shrimant Patil, who was staying with other Congress legislators at the Windflower Prakruthi Resort in Bengaluru, was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai today.

Kumaraswamy also reiterated that the Speaker has the responsibility to protect the MLAs.

"The discussion was over Schedule 10. I will not threaten anybody. I am in no hurry. Let us discuss what happened between 2008 and 2013. We haven't treated MLAs like cattle," he said.

"In the case of Shrimanth Patil, you must explain who sent his photos on WhatsApp? Who travelled with him in the flight? The speaker has the responsibility to protect the MLAs. Numbers only matter during the vote," the Chief Minister said.

Both the Congress and the JD(S) had issued whips to its MLAs to be present and participate in the proceeding sin the House today during the trust vote.

The 13-month-old Congress-JDS government had earlier this month slumped into a minority following the resignation of the dissident MLAs. Sixteen MLAs from the ruling coalition including thirteen Congress and three JD(S)MLAs have resigned.

If the dissident MLAs, who are in Mumbai, are counted out, the BJP appears to have the support of 105 MLAs in the 225-member state Assembly including one nominated MLA. (ANI)

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