A day after Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy asked the Speaker to arrange for a trust vote to confirm the ruling coalition's strength in the state assembly, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa today indicated that he was up for the challenge too. "We have no objection to the No Confidence Motion. We will wait until Monday. We are ready to face the No Confidence Motion on Monday," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
The impending floor test was necessitated by the resignation of 16 legislators from the Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JDS) alliance and two independents, a development that has threatened to topple the HD Kumaraswamy government. The Chief Minister, however, claims that he has no intention of clinging on to his position if the alliance does not have the required numbers in the state assembly.
"I have decided to seek trust vote, please fix a time for it," Mr Kumaraswamy had said on Friday. "I am ready for everything, I am not here to stick to power."
Congress leader Siddaramaiah, for his part, expressed confidence of the ruling coalition surviving the floor test. "We are confident, and that's why we are moving a vote of confidence motion. The BJP is afraid because they know there are black sheep in their party," ANI quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, preparations for the test of strength are going on at full swing. While the rebel legislators are staying at a five-star hotel in Mumbai to prevent Congress-JDS leaders from coercing them back into the fold, the Congress and the JDS have moved the rest of their lawmakers to separate resorts in the state to discourage further defections.
However, none of the resignations have been accepted by Karnataka Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar until now, and the Supreme Court has ruled against any decision on the matter until July 16. "In view of the weighty issue that have arisen, we are of the view that the matter be considered by us on Tuesday. Neither the issue of resignation nor that of disqualification should be decided till Tuesday," the Supreme Court said after hour-long arguments yesterday.
Five more rebel lawmakers approached the Supreme Court against the Speaker today, taking the total number resorting to such a move to 15. They claim that Ramesh Kumar is deliberately sitting on their resignations in order to give the Congress-JDS coalition enough time to shore up their numbers before the floor test
Although the Supreme Court had initially asked the Speaker to arrive at a decision on the resignations by Thursday night, the latter said that he cannot be expected to work at "lightning speed". If the resignations are accepted, the strength of the coalition will come down from 118 to 100 and the majority mark will drop from 113 to 105. The BJP has 105 members and the support of the two Independents, which takes its tally in the state assembly to 107.
(With inputs from ANI)