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Karnataka political crisis: SC likely to hear petition against Speaker on Thursday

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The cliffhanger surrounding the stability of the Karnataka government led by HD Kumaraswamy, entered the Supreme Court on Wednesday. This, after the 10 rebel MLAs of the JD(S)-Congress ruling coalition in the state represented by senior advocate and former Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi approached the apex court. They claimed that the Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar was not acting as per Constitution but instead was deliberately delaying the process of accepting their resignations.

Speaking before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Rohatgi prayed for an urgent hearing but was told that the matter could be heard only on Thursday.

Attempting to raise some points before the court, he said, “Time is of the essence. It should be heard either today or tomorrow,” according to Deccan Herald.

In their petition, the rebel MLAs have also said that the administration in the state due to the fluid political situation has taken a hit.

The petition read, ”In recent days, the government has been rocked by various scandals, chief among them were- I) IMA Ponzi scam, in which thousands of people have been cheated of their hard earned monies and yet the main accused has been allowed to leave the country. The allegations are that senior functionaries of the Govt. have been involved in the said scam. I) JSW land scam, wherein land has been given at throwaway prices against public interest.”
This is not the first time that matters concerning the Karnataka government will be heard by the country’s top court in an urgent hearing. It may be recalled that in a midnight hearing, the bench comprising of Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan heard the case filed by the Congress to stop the oath taking ceremony of BS Yeddyurappa as the CM in May 2018.

Meanwhile, senior Karnataka minister and Congress troubleshooter-in-chief DK Shivakumar is camped outside the Renaissance Hotel In Mumbai where the 10 rebel MLAs led by former minister Ramesh Jarkiholi are staying.

Under controversial circumstances, DKS who was accompanied by at least two JD(S) legislators – Shivarame Gowda and GT Devegowda – was denied entry into the hotel by the police. Even his reservation at the hotel was cancelled by the management citing “some emergency.”

The police presence was due to a letter written by the rebel MLAs to senior Mumbai police officers. Shivaram Hebbar, Pratapgouda Patil, BC Patil, Byrati Basavaraj, ST Somashekar, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Gopalaiah, H Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda, and Mahesh Kumatahalli said they feared threat from Shivakumar.

The BJP led by its state president BS Yeddyurappa sat on protests at the Gandhi statue in Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power in Karnataka, seeking the resignation of CM HD Kumaraswamy. A counter protest by JD(S)-Congress was held at the city centre against the mass resignations of the rebel MLAs allegedly at the behest of the BJP.

A counter protest by JD(S)-Congress was held at the city centre against the mass resignations of the rebel MLAs allegedly at the behest of the BJP. Former PM HD Deve Gowda and ex-CM Siddaramaiah also joined the protests.

When it comes to numbers, the Kumaraswamy government is surviving due to the technicality cited by Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to not accept the resignation of the 13 rebel MLAs.

The strength of the Assembly is 224 including Speaker. With the resignation of 13 MLAs, the quorum will reduce to 211. Following the spate of resignations, the Congress-JD(S) coalition has 104 MLAs while the BJP has 107 MLAs on its side.

The coalition does not have the majority to rule the government if the Speaker accepts the resignations.

Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar said the eight rebel MLAs had to submit their resignations to the Speaker themselves, in person.

On the other hand, the Congress has sought disqualification of these warring MLA on grounds of anti-party activities which would make them ineligible to hold public office in the state for the coming six years.

Source: The News Minute

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