Amid questions over the survival of ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka, the state assembly will meet on Friday. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had tweeted that he is “confident and prepared for a smooth and fruitful conduct of legislative sessions.”
Congress -JDS coalition in the state is going strong despite the efforts to destabilize. We are confident and prepared for a smooth and fruitful conduct of legislative sessions.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) July 11, 2019
Both the Congress and the JD-S have issued whips to all their legislators to be present in the Assembly for passing the state Budget (finance bill) and participate in the discussions on other subjects till the session ends on February 24.
Kumaraswamy said that the Assembly will discuss several other matters and absent MLAs will be disqualified under the 'anti-defection law'.
The 13-month-old Congress-JDS government had earlier this month slumped into crisis following the resignation of 10 MLAs.
On the top court’s order, the Speaker met 13 rebel Congress MLAs on Thursday evening, but made it clear that he was not rushing into accepting the resignations as he wanted to be "satisfied" which would require a detailed scrutiny.
"The legislators wrote their resignation in my office in the prescribed format and submitted to me personally. I will go through them and decide after I hear them personally," Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru after meeting the MLAs.
The Speaker asked the legislators to give in writing to him reasons for resigning from their respective assembly segments and that they were doing so voluntarily.
"I am answerable to the Constitution of India and people of Karnataka. As per the Constitution, if I am satisfied, then the resignations will be accepted," he said, making it clear that otherwise he will not accept them.
"I will communicate to the Supreme Court on Friday that I have acted upon the matter as per the law and in compliance with its order issued earlier in the day," said Kumar.
His clear intent to delay accepting the resignations assumes significance as the Assembly will be convening on Friday for a 10-day session.
Till their resignations are accepted, the 16 legislators - 13 of the Congress and 3 of the Janata Dal-Secular - would be bound by the whip issued by their respective parties regarding their attendance of the Assembly and any voting therein.
In the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated, the Congress has 79 MLAs, including Speaker, and JD-S has 37. Lone members of BSP and KPJP (a regional outfit) beside an Independent also were with the government, taking their tally to 118, five more than the required majority mark.
If the Speaker accepts all the 16 resignations, the Assembly's effective strength will drop to 209 from 225 and the ruling coalition will be reduced to 100, when the halfway mark would be 105.
Besides the 16 MLAs of the Congress and the JD-S, the KPJP legislator and the Independent have also withdrawn their support to the government.
(With inputs from agencies)