B S Yeddyurappa is said to be taking oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka this evening at 6 pm. He would get seven days to prove his majority in the House. He met the governor Vajubhai Vala and submitted a letter, which, according to the News Minute, read : "I intend to state that after the present government headed by Shri HD Kumaraswamy has lost the vote of confidence in the legislative assembly and consequently, he resigned to the post of chief minister...I submit that I am the leader of the BJP Legislature Party and also the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. At present, the strength of the BJP MLAs is 105 and the single largest party in the Assembly. Therefore I request Your Excellency, I may be invited to form an alternate government today itself and I will take oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka at Raj Bhavan between 6 pm and 6.15 pm."
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Both his meeting with the governor and the letter he has submitted makes us ask, why are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Yeddyurappa in such a hurry? One has seen the BJP, spearheaded by Yeddyurappa, never give up attempts to topple the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government, during its 14-month rule.
Speaking about such attempts, Shivshundar, an activist and writer, alleged these attempts were to “buy” the democratically elected representatives. As it unfurled itself in the discussions before the floor test in Vidhana Soudha, various BJP members had reportedly approached various MLAs of both Congress and JD(S), luring them with money, to switch sides.
However, it is true that 17 MLAs of the coalition submitted their resignations and moved to the neighbouring state of Maharashtra and checked into a hotel and refused to return and instead approached the Supreme Court. Thus, the SC had to intervene in what was a legislative process and rule that the MLAs be not forced to be present in the House during the floor test. As was seen, the Governor was also made to intervene thrice. All of this was to make the coalition government fall, and it has fallen now.
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On July 25, 2019 the Speaker, K R Ramesh Kumar disqualified the Congress's Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathahalli and independent legislator R Shankar, who pulled out of the coalition government and pledged support for BJP. The Speaker is yet to decide on 14 more resignations. The disqualifications bring down the strength of the House to 222, and the majority mark slides to 112. The BJP has 105 MLAs and the support of an independent; another independent legislator was disqualified. The Congress-JDS has 100. This development in the House has given rise to speculations and uncertainties in the state, which explains why the BJP and Yeddyurappa are in a hurry to form their government.
The questions that are haunting the BJP, as a podcast conversation of Indian Express pointed at, are:
What if the Speaker disqualifies more of the MLAs?
What if the Speaker cancels the resignations of the 14 rebel MLAs?
Thus, the BJP doesn’t want to miss this chance to grab power before any of these possibilities actualise. This makes it clear that the political drama in Karnataka is far from over.
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