As Karnataka Chief Minister Seeks Trust Vote, Lawmakers Off To Resorts

As Karnataka Chief Minister Seeks Trust Vote, Lawmakers Off To Resorts

Bengaluru: Amid questions about the Karnataka coalition’s survival, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy declared on Friday that he would seek a trust vote on the floor of the house and asked the Speaker to “fix a time”. In preparation for the test of strength, ruling allies Congress and Janata Dal Secular and rival BJP have arranged to move their lawmakers to resorts to sequester them from “poaching” attempts.
“I have decided to seek trust vote, please fix a time for it,” Mr. Kumaraswamy said as the budget session began in the Vidhana Souda or state assembly this morning.

“I am ready for everything, I am not here to stick to power,” added the Chief Minister, who had ruled out his resignation on Thursday.

The Congress-JDS coalition, which has been struggling to keep its flock intact since it came to power in May last year, is facing collapse after 18 resignations over the last week.

If the resignations are accepted, the ruling coalition will slip below the half-way mark and rival BJP will have a majority.

The dissidents have been staying at a five-star hotel in Mumbai.

The Congress has decided to move its lawmakers to Clarks Exotica Conventions Resorts in Bengaluru. JDS lawmakers are already staying at two resorts.

The BJP has picked three resorts as there isn’t enough room in one.

The coalition on Friday won a reprieve till Tuesday as the Supreme Court said there would be no decision on the resignations until then.

The court ruled after hour-long arguments involving lawyers representing the rebel lawmakers, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar and Chief Minister Kumaraswamy.

The Speaker told the court that he had not decided on the resignation letters of the dissidents, some of whom met him last evening. Many of them faced disqualification, he said.

The court has said until Tuesday, the Speaker cannot disqualify any legislator, nor accept any resignation.

“In view of the weighty issues that have arisen, we are of the view that the matter is considered by us on Tuesday. We are of the view that the status quo as of today with regard to the prevailing situation be maintained. Neither the issue of resignation nor that of disqualification be decided till Tuesday,” said the court.

Ten lawmakers met the Speaker last evening with blank papers and wrote their resignations again; their last letter was not in order, Mr. Kumar said.

The rebels told the court that the Speaker had questioned their move to approach the Supreme Court and had said “go to hell” to them in front of the media. The Speaker denied the charge, saying his meeting with the lawmakers was video-graphed.

The BJP in the state says the Speaker’s image has suffered. “A reasonable time to decide on the resignation does not mean weeks or months,” the party’s Suresh Kumar said.