"Everybody Watching Me": Speaker After Big Move On Karnataka Rebels

Congress's Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli were disqualified by the Speaker on Thursday evening.

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Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar has been under pressure since resignations started earlier this month


Bengaluru: 

Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, who disqualified three of the 15 lawmakers whose resignations crashed the Karnataka government, said he would decide on the rest of the cases on an individual basis "in a couple of days". But he has not accepted the resignations, telling NDTV that they were "100 per cent not voluntary, not genuine... the whole world knows".

Congress's Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli were disqualified by the Speaker on Thursday evening. The other, R Shankar, the legislator from Ranebennur, is one of the two Independents who switched sides. The Speaker said he had merged his party with the Congress, and so was effectively with the Congress.

The Speaker's decision on the disqualifications and resignations will be crucial in view of the numbers in the house and the formation of the next government. In case the BJP does not choose to form a minority government, the state can go under President's Rule. The coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular had come to power in May last year and the next election is due in 2023.

More immediately, it would affect the finance bill, which has to be passed by July 31.

"Everybody is watching my behaviour... If the finance bill not passed by July 31... it is my responsibility that such a financial impasse is not created," he told reporters at the press conference on Thursday evening where he announced the disqualifications.

Mr Ramesh has been under pressure since the resignations started earlier this month and the BJP demanded a test of strength in the assembly. The coalition government, which had been hoping for reprieve from the Supreme Court, had been bent on delaying the trust vote, the BJP alleged.

The vote had dragged on since last week - and the voting was held at the end of a marathon three-day debate session, violating multiple deadlines handed by the Speaker.

"As far as I'm concerned, none of these things bothered me. On different occasions in the last 15-20 days, sometimes one group wanted some things expeditiously, other people wanted it to be slowed down and vice versa..." he told NDTV. "I have done my job to the dictates of my conscience," he added.

The Congress and the Janata Dal Secular had complained about the lawmakers, saying they had violated the party whip to be present in House during the voting. Their absence had brought down the numbers and the majority mark and pushed the party below majority.

Congress's Siddaramaiah said it was a clear violation of Schedule 10 (of the Constitution) and attracts disqualification.



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