Governor for president’s rule as Yeddyurappa ‘wins’ trust vote (Evening Lead)

Monday, October 11, 2010

BANGALORE/NEW DELHI - The crisis in Karnataka deepened Monday with the B.S. Yeddyurappa government being declared victorious in the confidence motion by a voice vote but Governor H.R. Bhardwaj recommending president’s rule and union Law Minister Veerappa Moily labelling the speaker partisan for disqualifying rebel legislators.

The battle-lines were drawn more firmly after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the first in the south, won the motion by a voice vote amid chaos. While the BJP rushed in to congratulate Yeddyurappa and said the party had the numbers, the opposition Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) said it all happened in too much of a hurry.

“Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa proved majority on the floor of the house by voice vote, with 106 ruling legislators saying ‘yes’ after speaker K.G. Bopaiah convened the session at 10 a.m. as directed by Governor H.R. Bhardwaj,” a legislative secretariat official told IANS.

Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah told reporters soon after: “It all happened so hurriedly in five-10 minutes that nothing could be seen and heard properly in the house, as the speaker asked the chief minister to move the confidence motion and the BJP legislators raised hands in support of the trust vote without allowing us to speak or hold a debate.”

His colleague in New Delhi Manish Tiwari said developments in the state were “the complete murder of not only democracy but also constitutionalism as it stands in the country”.

Added H.D. Kumaraswamy, former chief minister and JD-S leader: “We are demanding immediate dismissal of the government. The trust vote was not conducted properly. The speaker and chief minister ran away after announcing the voice vote.”

The disqualification of 16 rebel legislators, 11 from the BJP and five Independents, by the speaker earlier in the day reduced the strength of the 225-member assembly to 208 and the halfway mark to prove majority in the house to 105. One member is nominated from the Ango-Indian community.

The action came in the wake of the dissident lawmakers withdrawing support to the government.

With the disqualification of 11 rebels, the strength of the ruling party too declined to 106, including the speaker, followed by the Congress with 73 and JD-S 28. The remaining are six Independents.

The speaker’s action comes in the wake of the dissident lawmakers withdrawing support to the government.

The rebel legislators approached the Karnataka High Court, which will hear their joint petition Tuesday.

As the political storm deepened, the governor faxed a letter to the central government terming the disqualification “unethical”, sources in the union home ministry told IANS.

Though officials in Raj Bhavan refused to come on record on the report by the governor, a source said the governor’s report had “taken note of the way the confidence motion was passed by a voice vote on the floor of the house and the conduct of assembly by (the) speaker”.

Terming the voice vote exercise a farce, the governor is believed to have told the central government that there was a constitutional breakdown in Karnataka.

Union Law Minister Moily said: “The speaker’s decision was partisan. He has acted in a manner that is unconstitutional. No notice was served to MLAs before disqualifying them. No procedure was followed. The legal, the constitutional procedure that you ought to follow before suspension or expulsion was bypassed.”

Stung by the developments, BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said the Congress and the JD-S were playing “dirty tricks”.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who conveyed his greetings to Yeddyurappa, said the two parties were trying to destabilise his party’s government.

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