Karnataka crisis LIVE UPDATES: SC refuses to hear rebel MLAs' plea, Speaker confirms floor test today
The fate of the fragile Congress-JDS government in Karnataka is likely to be decided on the floor of the assembly Monday even as the rebel MLAs Sunday bluntly refused to compromise on their stand and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy made an appeal to them to attend the House in an effort to save his 14-month old ministry.
Two days of efforts to woo back the rebel MLAs after the government defied on July 19 two deadlines set by Governor Vajubhai Vala to prove majority appeared to have fallen flat as the lawmakers hunkered down in a Mumbai hotel asserted they would not return and rejected allegations they were held captive.
"We thought this government will do good to the state but it did not happen. There is no question of our attending the assembly session tomorrow," rebel JD(S) MLA K Gopalaiah said in a video, flanked by ten other legislators.
Meanwhile, the 15 Karnataka rebel Congress and JD-S legislators and 2 Independents on Sunday filed a joint petition in the Supreme Court seeking direction to Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to hold the trust vote by 5 p.m. on Monday.
LIVE UPDATES ON THE KARNATAKA FLOOR TEST
- 11.08 am: Speaker has asked all 12 rebel MLAs to meet him at 11 am tomorrow for the hearing of disqualification petitions moved Siddaramaiah.
- 10. 52 am: BS Yeddyurappa reaches Vidhan Soudha with BJP MLAs in tow.
Bengaluru: Former Karnataka CM & BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa along with BJP MLAs arrives at Vidhana Soudha. Congress-JD(S) coalition government to face floor test in Assembly today. pic.twitter.com/p6eIuaIsLHANI (@ANI) July 22, 2019
- 10.50 am: SC says will see if they will hear the MLAs' plea tomorrow or later.
- 10.45 am: Counsel for rebel MLAs Mukul Rohatgi asked for an urgent hearing today to which CJI Ranjan Gogoi told him that it was impossible. SC refused urgent hearing for today."We are not hearing the matter today," said CJI Gogoi.
10.40 am: SC REFUSES TO HEAR KARNATAKA MLAS PLEA OVER FLOOR TEST
- 10.25 am: Congress MP BK Hariprasad has given notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 for the suspension of business for discussion over 'Constitutional crisis in Karnataka.
- 10.15 am: Congress MLA Nagendra, who underwent heart surgery last week, is unlikely to attend the session today.
- 10.12 am: Speaking to India Today TV, Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh said, "It is a gentlemanly agreement on the floor of the house by all that we must conclude this issue [trust vote] today. The business of the house is to conclude the trust vote today."
- 10.10 am: SPEAKER CONFIRMS FLOOR TEST WILL HAPPEN TODAY
- 9.35 am: Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi to mention plea filed by independent MLAs R Shankar and Nagesh. Will ask the court for an urgent hearing today.
- 9.30 am: BJP MLAs leave for Vidhan Soudha.
Bengaluru: BJP MLAs leave from Ramada Hotel for Vidhana Soudha; HD Kumaraswamy government will face floor test in the Assembly today. pic.twitter.com/hBsLndndIQANI (@ANI) July 22, 2019
- 9.11 am: Shiv Sena blames central government for being "just a mere spectator and doing nothing in the Karnataka Crisis". The Shiv Sena has demanded President's rule or the dissolution of the government and the holding of fresh elections and letting the people of Karnataka decide. The party's view comes as the latest editorial in mouthpiece Saamana.
- 9.05 am: Karnataka BJP MLAs stretch before the final test.
#Karnataka: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs, who are lodged at Ramada Hotel, Bengaluru, perform Yoga. Congress-JD(S) coalition government to face floor test in the Assembly today. pic.twitter.com/EbdwO5VQFyANI (@ANI) July 22, 2019
- 8.52 am: According to sources, HD Kumaraswamy personally approached rebel Congress MLA Anand Singh last evening. He tried convincing Singh on a personal level -- keeping parties aside. Kumaraswamy requested him to retract his resignation and come back but in vain. Anand Singh has stuck to his stand. The CM also spoke to family members of Anand Singh asking them to convince him.
- 8.35 am: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy denied he was getting into a hospital to avoid the floor test in the state Assembly on Monday.
- 8.30 am: DK Shivakumar insists that JD(S) has allowed for a Congress CM. "JD(S) said they are okay with any sacrifice, they want the party to survive. They said anyone from Congress can be CM. They are not adamant on being CM. They told me Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah can be CMs. They told our high command also. We are still confident."
- 8.17 am: Meanwhile, the coalition received a minor relief when Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati directed her party's lone MLA in Karnataka N Mahesh to vote in favour of the trust motion.
- 8.15 am: Ahead of the trust vote of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka, Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao said the party has not received any proposal seeking Siddaramaiah to become the next Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Dinesh Gundu Rao, Congress after Legislature Party meeting in Bengaluru: MLAs are very enthusiastic, we are going with lot of confidence. We will emerge as winners. Tomorrow on the floor of the House we will expose BJP. #KarnatakaFloorTest pic.twitter.com/U8kC7sERocANI (@ANI) July 21, 2019
- 8.12 am: Senior minister and Congress trouble shooter DK Shivakumar claimed Kumaraswamy has told the Congress that it can appoint any leader of its choice as CM to save the coalition. There was, however, no confirmation from the JDS that it has made such a proposal.
- 8.10 am: Two Independent MLAs, R Shankar and H Nagesh, have sought a direction from the Supreme Court to the HD Kumaraswamy government to hold the floor test on or before 5 pm on July 22.
- 8.00 am: Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Sunday mounted a scathing attack on BJP, accusing it of touching a new low by its "immoral politics". He appealed the rebel MLAs to return and "expose" the BJP during the debate in the House.
UNCERTAINTY STILL LOOMS
The Karnataka 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.
As the situation threatens to blow into a Constitutional crisis, the ruling coalition has vociferously questioned the Governor's power to issue such directions.
However, before adjourning the House on Friday, Speaker Ramesh Kumar extracted a "commitment" from the coalition that the motion of confidence would reach finality on Monday, even as he made it clear that it would not be prolonged further under any circumstances.
With treasury benches insisting that the Speaker allow its long list of speakers to voice their feelings, questions are still being raised in political circles over whether voting on the motion will happen Monday also.
If the trust vote is not taken up on Monday, 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.
WHAT THE NUMBERS SAY
If he fails to prove majority on the floor of the House, HD Kumaraswamy will have to tender the resignation, following which the procedure to form an alternative government will be kickstarted.
As many as 16 MLAs -- 13 from the Congress and three from JDS-- had resigned, while independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government, putting the government to the precipice.
One Congress member Ramalinga Reddy retracted, saying he would support the government.
The ruling combines 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 coalitions tally will plummet to 101, (excluding the Speaker) reducing the government to a minority.
BJP's strength is also likely to come down to 106, as Shankar who has extended support to the saffron party will not attend the session, according to sources.
(with inputs from Shalini Lobo, Nolan Pinto, Akash Kolluru, Nagarjun Dwarkanath in Bengaluru; Kamlesh Sutar and Mustafa Shaikh in Mumbai; Aneesha Mathur and Sanjay Sharma in Delhi)