Karnataka brought under President’s Rule

Bangalore, (IANS) Karnataka was brought under President’s Rule late Tuesday, a day after the chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy resigned when his Janata Dal-Secular ministry was reduced to a minority. President Pratibha Patil signed the proclamation in New Delhi placing the state under central rule.

The cabinet in New Delhi had earlier accepted the recommendation of Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur for imposing President’s Rule.

Support TwoCircles

Sources at the Raj Bhavan or governor’s house hinted that the state assembly would, however, be kept under suspended animation and not be dissolved immediately.

“The president has accepted the governor’s report and consented to impose central rule in the state, with the legislative assembly under suspended animation,” a Raj Bhavan official said.

According to legal experts, dissolution of the assembly would require parliament’s approval. When the President’s Rule proclamation is brought before parliament for ratification in the winter session next month, the central government would have to seek the approval of both the houses to dissolve the state assembly, as the lower house of the state assembly still has 20 months of its five-year term left.

The governor is expected to formally notify the imposition of President’s Rule in a communiqué Wednesday.

Thakur, who shifted to Karnataka from Orissa in August, recommended central rule in the state after Kumaraswamy stepped down from the chief minister’s post late Monday and his 20-month-old coalition government was reduced to a minority following the withdrawal of support by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday.

The opposition Congress also sought the dismissal of the lame-duck Kumaraswamy government and declined to support the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) as a coalition partner.

A once bitten-twice shy Congress rebuffed the overtures of JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda in forming another coalition government after its chief minister N. Dharam Singh was ousted from office by the Kumaraswamy-led faction in a political coup in January 2006.

The state unit of the BJP was forced to pull out of the government after Kumaraswamy refused to transfer power to its leader B.S. Yediyurappa, as agreed upon 20 months ago when the two parties formed their coalition government in February 2006.

In a related development, the Congress justified the imposition of President’s Rule in the state, saying there was no scope to install an alternative government after the collapse of the JD-S-BJP government.

The party’s state unit president Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters here the warring coalition partners (JD-S and BJP) were responsible for plunging the state into a deep political crisis leading to central rule and mid-term polls in the next six months.

“Both the allies owe an apology to the people of Karnataka for creating political and administrative instability. As two opportunistic parties, they could neither trust each other nor work together to share or transfer power even after 20 months of being together in an unholy alliance,” Kharge asserted.