Karnataka Congress, JD-S threaten to boycott trust vote


Bangalore : An upset Karnataka opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) Wednesday threatened to boycott the state assembly’s special session convened Thursday for another trial of strength for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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“We are planning to boycott the trust vote session as it is not only unprecedented but also unconstitutional on the part of the governor (H.R. Bhardwaj) to have called for it again when the case against the (16) disqualified legislators is pending in the high court,” an enraged Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

The Congress, which has 73 legislators in the 225-member assembly that includes one nominated, has convened its legislature party meeting later in the day to decide its strategy for the D-day.

“The view in the party is that the governor should postpone the session until the high court gives its judgment on the joint writ petition filed by the disqualified legislators to know their status in the assembly,” Siddaramaiah asserted.

“If he does not, we will have no choice but to keep away from such an unconstitutional exercise,” he added.

Sharing the anguish of the Congress over the governor’s sudden decision to ask Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to move the confidence motion once again, JD-S state unit president and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy said his party legislators also may not go for the trust vote.

“The governor has already termed the trust vote taken through voice Monday ‘farce’ and recommended president’s rule, citing ‘constitutional breakdown’ in the state, as the proceedings were conducted against the rules amid chaotic scenes and confusion,” Kumaraswamy told reporters.

“How can he (governor) ask the chief minister to take the floor test again?,” a miffed Kumaraswamy asked.

Meanwhile, the ruling BJP has issued a three-line whip to its 105 legislators to vote in favour of the motion for proving majority on the floor of the assembly.

An upbeat BJP has also lodged all its members at the Golden Palm resort on the outskirts of the city to prevent horse-trading or poaching of its legislators by the rival parties.

With the disqualification of the 16 rebel legislators, including 11 from the BJP and five Independents, the strength of the house is reduced to 208, with 105 as the halfway mark for proving majority.

since the high court declined to grant stay over the disqualification of the rebels, the strength of the combined opposition is 102 — 73 of the Congress, 28 of the JD-S and one Independent.

A division bench of the high court, headed by Chief Justice K.S. Khehar and Justice N. Kumar Tuesday reserved judgment in the case of 11 BJP lawmakers and posted for further hearing the Independents’ case to Oct 18.

Speaker K.G. Bopaiah disqualified the rebels in response to a petition by the BJP after they submitted a joint letter to the governor Oct 6, withdrawing support to the 29-month-old first BJP government in the southern state and expressing lack of faith in the leadership of Yeddyurappa.