Disqualification of MLAs upheld, Yeddyurappa gets a relief

Monday, February 14, 2011

BANGALORE - The Karnataka High Court Monday upheld the disqualification of five Independent legislators who rebelled against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and reduced his government to a minority.

The ruling by Justice Mohan Shantangouder, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice A.S. Bopanna comes as a morale booster for the beleaguered chief minister. The bench unanimously upheld the Oct 10 order of speaker K.G. Bopaiah disqualifying the legislators for rebelling against Yeddyurappa.

Four of the Independents - D. Sudhakar, P.M Narendra Swamy, Venkataramanappa and Shivaraj Tangadagi - were ministers at the time of the rebellion while the fifth, Gulihatti Shekar, had just been dropped from the ministry.

The five lawmakers said they would soon move the Supreme Court, challenging the high court ruling.

They were disqualified by Speaker Bopaiah on the basis of the complaint by five voters, who said the legislators had betrayed their voters by rebelling against Yeddyurappa.

The five Independents along with 11 lawmakers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wrote to Governor H.R. Bhardwaj Oct 6 that they no longer had confidence in Yeddyurappa.

Bopaiah disqualified all the 16 Oct 10, a day ahead of the trust vote sought by Yeddyurappa in the state assembly. The chief minister won a second trust vote Oct 14 as the first one Oct 11 was termed by Bhardwaj to be not in order.

The rebellion by the 16 legislators reduced the Yeddyurappa ministry to minority in the 225-member house (including one nominated member) as BJP strength came down to 106.

The BJP’s strength now stands at 105 as one of its members died and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) won the by-poll.

The BJP had won 110 seats in the May 2008 assembly polls and formed the government with the support of these five Independents, all of whom were rewarded with cabinet posts.

Though Yeddyurappa won the trust vote Oct 14 by 106 votes for and 100 against, his position has been shaky in view of the slender majority in the assembly whose effective strength now stands at 206 - with the 16 disqualifications and three vacancies.

The BJP has 105 members, the Congress 71, JD-S 27, Independent 1, nominated 1, and Speaker 1.

Yeddyurappa has lost further ground even as the disqualification of the 16 is being decided by the courts, since final decision has to come from the Surpeme Court.

He is now caught in a web of scandals over land allotment to his kin and denotification of large tracts of land which allegedly benefited people who invested money in his sons business ventures.

The governor has permitted Yeddyurappas prosecution over alleged corruption and illegal land dealings.

Two Bangalore advocates have filed five complaints against Yeddyurappa, his two sons, a son-in-law and several others over corruption and nepotism in land allotment and illegal denotification of lands.

Though the five Independent legislators will take their case to the Supreme Court, the unanimous high court decision upholding the disqualification comes as a major, if temporary, relief to Yeddyurappa, who is under pressure to quit over the allegations.

Filed under: Politics

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