A delegation of the Karnataka BJP today asked Governor Vajubhai Vala to issue a directive to Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, asking him to conduct a floor test at a time when the ruling Congress-Janata Dal Secular (JDS) coalition seems to be teetering on the brink after the resignation of 16 legislators.
"We have petitioned the Governor to direct the Speaker to hold a floor test in the Assembly on Friday, when the monsoon session begins. The coalition government lost majority, and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has no moral right to continue anymore," news agency IANS quoted BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa as saying in Bengaluru.
Mr Yeddyurappa and other party leaders have been protesting outside the state assembly since early this morning. "Fourteen MLAs and two independents have resigned. Now our strength in the Karnataka assembly is 108 while that of the Congress-JDS coalition is 103. When a government loses majority, it becomes the Chief Minister's duty to resign immediately. The question of discussing it in the assembly does not arise at all. So I also request HD Kumaraswamy to resign immediately," he told NDTV.
The BJP leader dismissed the Speaker's claim that eight of the resignation letters were not written in the proper format. "If it is not in the proper format, they can send the letters in the proper format by courier. If necessary, they can even come and meet the Speaker personally. But it is important that there be no delay," Mr Yeddyurappa said.
He also denied claims that the BJP had orchestrated the mass resignations that have brought the ruling coalition near collapse. "These Congress and JDS legislators have resigned on their own accord because they do not want to continue in this manner. So, naturally, we will support them. But we are in no way responsible for what happened," the BJP leader told NDTV.
KR Ramesh Kumar, however, said that he will not be rushed so far as the floor test is concerned. "I have not accepted any of the resignations, and I can't do it overnight. I have given them time on the 17th. I'll go through the procedure and take a decision," he insisted.
The Karnataka BJP's memorandum to the Governor came amid high drama outside the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai, where rebel lawmakers are being housed to prevent being lured back by leaders of the Congress-JDS coalition. A number of Congress leaders -- including party troubleshooter DK Shivakumar and Maharashtra party leader Milind Deora -- had been standing outside its gates in the pouring rain for nearly six hours, seeking entry into the five-star hotel to meet the rebels, before being detained by the police in violation of orders prohibiting large gatherings in the area.
The Congress has termed the police's efforts to prevent DK Shivakumar and other leaders from meeting the rebel lawmakers as the "murder of democracy". "This is very shameful. These MLAs are being held captive by the BJP, and the whole nation condemns it. The entire episode only goes to show how the BJP is willing to go to any lengths to topple a government elected through the people's mandate," said Congress leader Uttam Reddy, adding that the coalition government will sail past the impending floor test.
(With inputs from IANS)
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