Just before the floor test, Congress' Ramesh Kumar was unanimously elected as the speaker
Bengaluru, Karnataka: The BJP walked out of the Karnataka assembly just before the trust vote, throwing a dare at chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. "Let's see how long you last," said BS Yeddyurappa, as he staged a dramatic walkout from the House. The 58-year-old Janata Dal Secular leader, who was sworn in on Wednesday, has the support of 117 MLAs from the JD(S)-Congress-BSP coalition in the House and is likely to win the trust vote easily. Just before the floor test, Congress' Ramesh Kumar was unanimously elected as the speaker after the BJP withdrew its candidate's nomination.
Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to Karnataka floor test today:
This is the second time Mr Yeddyurappa walked out of the assembly. He did the same thing when he quit just before his trust vote last week.
Mr Yeddyurappa, who held the post of chief minister for 55 hours, today warned the new government of "unrest" if farmer loans not waived off by Monday.
On withdrawing its speaker candidate Suresh Kumar, Mr Yeddyurappa said, "we wanted the election to be unanimous in order to maintain dignity of the Speaker's post."
HD Kumaraswamy has a clear advantage given the strength of the JDS-Congress-BSP coalition in the House. While the Congress has 78 legislators, Mr Kumaraswamy's JDS has 37, and the BSP of Mayawati has one. The alliance also claims support of two more lawmakers including an independent.
Earlier in the day, there was a wobble over Congress leader and deputy chief minister G Parameshwara's comment on power-sharing formula with the JDS. He said the coalition was yet to discuss modalities about Mr Kumaraswamy continuing as Chief Minister for a full five year term. "We have not yet discussed those modalities," he said on Thursday.
Mr Kumaraswamy, however, had said on weekend that there was "no rotational arrangement for chief ministership" between the two parties.
Today's trust vote is unlikely to be the last challenge that the Congress-JDS alliance faces from the BJP. Mr Yeddyurappa, who quit 55 hours after taking oath as chief minister, has predicted that the alliance won't last more than three months and there are suggestions that the BJP is hoping that lawmakers left out when the Chief Minister forms his cabinet could be open to switching sides.
State Congress chief G Parameshwara's elevation to the post of deputy chief minister has reportedly upset another senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar, a contender for the post.
Congress and JDS leaders, who had made Mr Kumaraswamy's swearing-in a prestige issue by inviting non-BJP leaders from across the country, are dismissive of the claims. Mr Parameshwara said he was confident that the government would win the trust vote as "our MLAs are intact".
The 224-member assembly has an effective strength of 221 as voting in two seats, Jayanagar and RR Nagar, was deferred. Also, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy vacated one of the two seats he won, leading to the current tally.