In a relief to ruling BJP that faced threats of instability, Karnataka
Governor H R Bhardwaj today said the Jagadish Shettar Ministry still enjoyed
majority after 13 party MLAs announced their resignation, but he would order a
floor test if he felt it has been reduced to minority.
"On the day on which the government comes into minority even with one MLA less,
I will issue notice. Now 13 MLAs have resigned but the government is still in
majority," he told reporters as Shettar stood next to him after the Republic Day
Bhardwaj said he would act according to the advice of Shettar as long as he was
the Chief Minister, but wouldn't do so after his government had lost majority.
"I will not do any unconstitutional work. I am watching," he said.
Question marks over the Shettar government's survival were raised after 13 MLAs
loyal to Karnataka Janata Party chief and former BJP strongman B S Yeddyurappa
announced their decision to quit assembly membership.
The MLA's bid to push the government into a corner, however, had been in vain as
Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah was not in station, an issue over which they cried
foul and petitioned the Governor to whom they submitted copies of their
The Governor's remarks come as a relief to the over six-month old Shettar
Government as it has belied hopes, at least for the present, of Yeddyurappa to
force the exit of the BJP Ministry ahead of assembly elections due in May.
Bhardwaj said today that Shettar was the Leader of the BJP Legislature Party and
it was left to him to take action on the issue of resignation by 13 MLAs.
Noting that the Assembly has been convened to meet from February 4 for the
Budget session, Bhardwaj said he was studying the situation. "I hope Karnataka
continues to function as per the Constitution and we (I and Chief Minister) will
not rush through," he said.
Asked if he would direct Bopaiah to accept the resignation of 13 BJP
legislators, he said said Speaker's was an independent and very high office and
he cannot dictate terms.
To a query on Yeddyurappa's remarks that the state was facing a Constitutional
crisis following the resignation of the 13 MLAs, Bhardwaj said the government
still enjoyed majority and it was left to Shettar to act in this regard.
"However, each day of the budget session is a test for the government. We should
not say there is a Constitutional crisis. We are living in a democracy which has
been interpreted by the highest court of the land (Supreme Court in the S R
Bommai case). I will not go against the Constitution."
Bhardwaj said he would be addressing the joint session of legislature as it is
his obligation and a privilege to do so.
"But I am watching the situation minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and day-by-day.
I will protect the Constitution and he (Shettar) has assured me in this regard,"
Shettar said his government enjoyed majority and would present the budget.
"There is no threat to my government. The Governor has agreed to address the