Karnataka may head for spell of President’s rule till rebel resignation

Karnataka may have a spell of President’s rule till its Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar decides on the resignations of the 15 rebel legislators of the Congress and JD-S, as the BJP is not in a hurry to stake claim to form a government amid uncertainty, a party official said on Thursday.

“If the Speaker takes longer time to accept or reject the resignations of the rebels, the Governor (Vajubhai Vala) may recommend President’s rule in the state, as we will not like to stake claim to power in such a situation,” BJP’s state spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS.

The party is also unclear about the Speaker’s decision on the disqualification the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) have recommended to apply on the rebels for defying their whip.

Though the Supreme Court said in its July 17 order that the Speaker was free to decide on the rebels’ resignations as per the anti-defection law, the rebels abstained from the Assembly, as its three-judge bench also said they could not be compelled to attend the House, when their resignations were pending before the Speaker since July 11 when they re-submitted them on its July 10 directive.

In case the Speaker takes more time to decide on their resignations, the rebels are likely to approach the apex court for its intervention, as their plea before it (court) since July 10 was for its direction to the Speaker to accept them forthwith, as the re-submitted the resignation letters were in order.

“Till the resignations are accepted, the strength of the Assembly will remain 225, including one nominated, as the rebels are still members, with 113 as the halfway mark for a simple majority. Even with the support of two Independents, we will be still 6 short of the halfway mark at 107 (105 + 2) if we are asked to prove majority by the Governor after forming the new government.

In case the Speaker accepts the resignations or disqualifies the members, the Assembly strength will reduce to 210, with 106 as the halfway mark, which the BJP will be able to win with the support of the two Independents.

“As the decisions of the Speaker and the top court will take time, the Governor may recommend President’s rule and keep the Assembly in suspended animation till we are in a position to stake claim and form a stable government with our own majority,” added Madhusudan.

If the rebels’ resignations are accepted or they are disqualified, by-elections in the 15 assembly segments will have to be held in six months of vacancy caused.

(IANS)