Congress core committee meets on Karnataka


New Delhi: The Congress Core Committee Monday discussed the various options to tackle the situation in Karnataka after Governor H.R. Bhardwaj sent a report recommending President’s rule following an uproar in the state assembly over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning a trust vote.

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The Congress is understood to have decided to wait till Tuesday for the Karnataka High Court verdict on the disqualification of 11 dissident legislators ahead of the trust vote.

Party sources said the core committee discussed various options, including dismissal of the government as recommended by the governor as well as an alternate option of conducting a fresh “foolproof and fair” floor test to decide the fate of the state government.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Home Minister P. Chidambaram attended the meeting.

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