Speaker Disqualifies 3 Rebel Lawmakers Who Deserted Karnataka Government

If the Speaker does not accept the resignations, the lawmakers would remain members of the assembly and the strength of the house will remain 225, including one nominated member.

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Three lawmakers have been disqualified by Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar


New Delhi: 

Three of the 17 lawmakers responsible for bringing down the coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular have been disqualified by Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar. Two of them -- Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli -- belonged to the Congress and had resigned earlier this month. The other, R Shankar, the legislator from Ranebennur, is one of the two Independents who supported the government but switched sides. The Speaker said he had merged his party with the Congress, and so was effectively with the Congress.

All three, the Speaker said, cannot contest elections till the 15th state assembly is dissolved. "I have rejected the resignations... the way they have come -- it compelled me to arrive at the inference that resignations were not voluntary and genuine," he said.

"I don't have power to penalise the 3 MLAs," the Speaker said at a press conference this evening amid suspense over the fate of the rest of the rebels. "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. By Monday, it will be 29th. I have to discharge my obligation," he added.

The 15 legislators of the coalition resigned earlier this month, bringing down the government, which lost the test of strength in the state assembly on Tuesday.

If the Speaker does not accept their resignation, the lawmakers would remain members of the assembly and majority mark will remain high. Thursday's disqualifications bring down the strength of the House to 221, and the majority mark slides to 112.

The BJP, which currently has 105 members, is not inclined to form a minority government, party spokesman G Madhusudan had indicated.  

In such a situation, placing the state under President's Rule is one of the alternatives for the Governor, he had indicated.

"If the Speaker takes longer time to accept or reject the resignations of the rebels, the Governor (Vajubhai Vala) may recommend President's rule in the state, as we will not like to stake claim to power in such a situation," IANS quoted G Madhusudan as saying.

If the resignations of the rebel lawmakers are accepted, the strength of the house comes down to 105. But till the rebels are re-elected as BJP legislators, the BJP will be compelled to run a minority government.



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