2 Independent Karnataka MLAs Move SC, Seek Direction To Conclude Floor Test On Monday

H Nagesh and R Shankar were inducted into the cabinet barely a month ago to avoid their chances of leaving the government.

2 Independent Karnataka MLAs Move SC, Seek Direction To Conclude Floor Test On Monday

Two independent Karnataka MLAs, who had resigned from the cabinet and withdrawn support to the HD Kumaraswamy-led government, on Sunday moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to conclude the floor test on Monday before 5 PM, news agency ANI reported.

H Nagesh and R Shankar were inducted into the cabinet not long ago to ensure they didn't withdraw their support to the government.

The petitioners have submitted that a minority government, which does not have the confidence of the majority, is being allowed to continue in office.

"It is submitted that the actions of the respondents are leading to a Constitutional crisis in the state of Karnataka," the plea stated.

"The intention of the government is to delay the trust vote and indulge in horse-trading and defections from the BJP in the meanwhile," the plea said.

"It is submitted that this court may be pleased to intervene to uphold the rule of law and constitutional democracy," said the petition.

The independent MLAs have stated that "irreparable harm and injury" will be caused to them if the interim relief prayed for is not granted by the court.

The future of the Congress-JD(S) government hangs by thread as their numbers continue to fall short of the majority mark.   

On Friday, the assembly was adjourned till Monday after the Governor's 1.30 PM deadline and the second one to conclude the confidence motion process by Friday itself was ignored, prolonging the climax to the ceaseless power struggle that has been on for the last three weeks and which threatens to blow into a constitutional crisis.

Amid reports that the government was still trying to prolong the discussion on the confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister on Thursday, hoping for some kind of relief from the Supreme Court, the ruling coalition was making last-ditch efforts to win back unrelenting rebel lawmakers.

Kumaraswamy and the Congress had moved the Supreme Court on Friday, accusing the Governor of interfering with the Assembly proceedings when the debate on the trust vote was underway and sought clarification on its July 17 order, which they said, caused hindrance in issuing whip to the legislators.

With discussion on the confidence motion yet to be completed after treasury benches insisted that Ramesh Kumar allow its long list of speakers to voice their feelings, questions are still being raised in political circles over whether voting on the confidence motion will happen Monday also and whether the government will keep up its promise, by not delaying the process further.

If the ruling coalition tries to delay the proceedings on Monday also, all eyes will be on the next move by the Governor, who has been keeping the Centre posted on the unfolding drama in the state?

The "delay" in completing the trust vote process was seen as an attempt by the ruling coalition aimed at buying time to woo back rebel MLAs, hunkered down in Mumbai to protect them from poaching by the ruling coalition, whose resignation has pushed the government to the brink of collapse.

Meanwhile, BSP supremo Mayawati has directed the party's lone MLA in the state to support the Kumaraswamy government during the trust vote tomorrow.  

 N Mahesh, the BSP legislator, had earlier said that he had been asked by the party high-command to abstain from voting tomorrow. The BSP had contested the 2018 state elections in alliance with the JDS.

The ruling combine's strength is 117-- Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, and nominated 1, besides the Speaker.

With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 MLAs in the 225-member House, including the nominated MLA and Speaker.

If the resignations of 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and three from JDS) are accepted or if they stay away, the ruling coalition's tally will plummet to 101, (excluding the Speaker) reducing the government to a minority.

(With inputs from PTI)