Karnataka floor test Live update: Kumaraswamy passes floor test with ease

Karnataka Elections
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Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy comfortably passed the floor test on Friday, after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs staged a walkout from the Vidhana Soudha (state assembly).

With this, he successfully proved his majority in the state assembly.

The BJP walked out from the state assembly after BJP state chief B.S. Yeddyurappa said his party will hold a state-wide bandh on May 28, if Kumaraswamy did not waive off farmer loans.

The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance together with two independent candidates have 117 MLAs, six more than the majority required to form a government in the state. All the 117 MLAs voted in Kumaraswamy's favour.

The floor test was considered significant for the Congress-JD(S) alliance after the BJP decided not to go for floor test as it did not have the required number of members to establish its claim to run the government.

Yeddyurappa, who was sworn-in as chief minister last week, opted to resign as the BJP was seven short of the simple majority mark of 111 in the 221-member assembly.

The BJP was the single largest party in the fractured mandate with 104 seats and was given 15 days to prove its majority on the floor of the house by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala.

The Supreme Court directed that the floor test be held last Saturday, a day after Yeddyurappa took oath as the chief minister.

Prior to Friday's assembly session, Kumaraswamy expressed his confidence about winning the floor test.

Yeddyurappa, on the other hand, confirmed during his address in the assembly that the BJP had withdrawn the name of Suresh Kumar as its candidate for the Speaker's post, as it wanted the election of the Speaker to be unanimous. (ANI)


K R Ramesh Kumar of Congress elected speaker. He was elected unanimously after BJP withdrew its candidate S Suresh Kumar’s nomination. This shows the majority of the Congress-JD (S) majority in the Assembly is intact. This also suggests that Chief Minister Kumaraswamy will easily sails through the confidence.

"I have no tension. I am going to win clearly" : Kumaraswamy

25-05-2018 11:00 AM

Ahead of the floor test in the Karnataka assembly, chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy expressed confidence in proving his majority. "I have no tension. I am going to win clearly," he told ANI, hours before the floor test is going to take place inside Vidhana Soudha (state assembly).

 

After Bharatiya Janata Party's B.S Yeddyurappa, it is now Congress- Janata Dal (United) alliance's turn to take the floor test.

Yeddyurappa was sworn-in as chief minister last week; however, before taking the floor test, he resigned as the BJP had only 104 MLAs, seven short of simple majority mark of 111 in the 221-member assembly.

While BJP, which was the single-largest party in the fractured mandate, was given 15 days to prove their majority on the floor of the house, the Supreme Court in an interim order directed the floor test to be held in just two days, even after Yeddyurappa had taken oath as the Chief Minister of the state.

Following Yeddyurappa's resignation, on May 23, Kumaraswamy was sworn-in as the 24th chief minister of Karnataka, marking the beginning of the JD(S)-Congress alliance, which has 115 MLAs.

Before the floor test, an election for speaker's post will be held.

The BJP has put senior leader S Suresh Kumar against Congress' Ramesh Kumar. (ANI)


Kumaraswamy to face floor test at 12 noon

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is all set to face the floor test today. He will seek the vote after the election of a new Speaker at 12 noon.

While the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance has nominated Congress leader K R Ramesh Kumar, the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded five-time MLA S Suresh Kumar.

If no unforeseen development take place, the alliance is expected to sail through the floor test. The alliance claims the support of 117 MLAs in the 224-member Assembly. The house has an effective strength of 221.

The election in Jayanagar was countermanded following the death of the BJP candidate and deferred in RR Nagar over allegations of electoral malpractices. Kumaraswamy who won from two seats will be vacating one.  The BJP has 104 seats.

Both the Congress and the JD (S) have issued whips to their respective MLAs to vote in favour of the confidence motion.

Even though the Congress-JD (S) alliance is firmly placed, senior leaders are not ready to rule out the possibility of BJP continuing with its efforts to poach their MLAs. Kumaraswamy has made the apprehension open, saying that the saffron party may try to repeat their ‘Operation Kamala’ to bring down his government.

BJP Legislature party leader BS Yeddyurappa, who was sworn-in as the chief minister on May 17, had stepped down as the party could not get access to the Congress and JD (S) MLAs, who were lodged in hotels and resorts.

Even then the party managed to contact some and tried to lure them by offering ministerial position and financial rewards. Congress had released the video clips of the telephonic conversation the leaders had with some of these MLAs. They included voice clips attributed to Yeddyurappa and his son Raghavendra.


Congress lodges complaint against BJP for poaching MLAs

The Congress has sought to prevent any fresh poaching attempt by lodging a complaint with the Bangalore wing of the Karnataka Anti-Corruption Bureau against the leaders. Five audio clips have been attached along with the complaint as evidence.

Besides Yeddyurappa and his son, other leaders figuring in the complaint are BJP Karnataka in-charge, Muralidhara Rao, B Sriramulu, B J Puttuswamy and mine mafia head Janardhana Reddy.

Denying the allegations, BJP had alleged that the audio clips were manufactured by the Congress using mimicry artistes. The anti-corruption bureau is expected to subject the clips to forensic tests to find out the truth. If the test finds the allegation true, the BJP will have to face a huge embarrassment and it may even affect the party’s prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The 58-year-old Kumaraswamy, who was sworn-in at a grand assembly of leaders of non-BJP parties on Wednesday, will be expanding his cabinet after the floor test. The two parties have already thrashed out a power-sharing formula, under which the Congress will get 22 ministerial births and the JD (S).

An upbeat Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday expressed confidence about winning the trust vote on Friday and proving that his JD(S)- Congress coalition government has the majority in the new Assembly.


Congress, JD (S) MLAs to be free after floor test

The floor test will be a huge relief for the MLAs as they will be free to return to their home and constituency. They remained hauled together in luxurious hotels and resorts ever since Governor invited Yedyurappa to form government.

There were reports that the Congress and JD(S) MLAs did not even have access to telephone so they could keep in touch with their families.  The claim was refuted by both Congress and JD(S) leaders. The Congress MLAs were lodged at Hilton Embassy Golflinks at Domlur, and JD(S) MLAs at Prestige Golfshire Resort off Devanahalli on the outskirts of Bengaluru after they were brought from Hyderabad to attend the Yedyurappa to floor test.

The floor test is likely to end the 10-day uncertainty hovering over Karnataka.

 


HD Kumaraswamy takes oath as Karnataka CM

23-05-2018, 04:30 PM

BANGALORE: H.D. Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal (Secular) was sworn-in as the 24th chief minister of Karnataka on Wednesday, marking the beginning of the JD(S)-Congress alliance in the state.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G. Parameshwara took oath as the state's Deputy Chief Minister.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath to Kumaraswamy and Parameshwara at a gala ceremony held outside the the Vidhana Soudha, the state assembly.

The ceremony was attended by a battery of political dignitaries, including United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and son of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, Tejaswi Yadav, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Fifty-eight-year-old Kumaraswamy was invited to form the government in Karnataka after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led B S Yeddyurappa stepped down within three days of taking over as the state chief minister, following a fractured mandate of Karnataka assembly polls.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, only eight seats short of the simple majority mark of 112.

On the other hand, the Congress party with 78 seats and JD(S) with 37 seats, along with two independent candidates, stitched up a post-poll alliance with a total of 117 MLAs.

However, the Governor invited BJP's Yeddyurappa to form a government on May 16, and gave him 15 days to prove majority, amid huge uproar by the opposition.

On May 18, the Supreme Court, on the plea of the Congress and JD(S), shifted the floor test to May 19. Unable to garner the required number by the deadline, Yeddyurappa stepped down from the post of chief minister before the floor test could be conducted.

Kumaraswamy, the son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, had earlier served as the chief minister of the state from February 2006 to October 2007


Kumaraswamy set to take over as 25th Karnataka CM

After a temple-hopping spree, Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy is all set to assume power as 25th chief minister of Karnataka in the evening.

The 58-year-old leader completed the temple visits that he started since Governor Vjubhai Vala invited him to form a coalition government by offering prayers to Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari Mysore and Ramanagaram in the morning.

Earlier on Tuesday, he had visited Sringeri, where Adi Shankaracharya established his first mutt in the state. After the visit, Kumaraswamy expressed his confidence that things would go smoothly in the Congress-JD(S) coalition government with the grace of Goddess Shardambe and the Jagadguru.

Kumaraswamy, who returned to the city in the afternoon, will be sworn in by the Governor at a grand ceremony in the Vidhan Soudha, which has been decked up to host a huge galaxy of non-BJP leaders from across the country.

The guest list includes Congress president Rahul Gandhi, his mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, BSP leader Mayawati, TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu West Bengal CM and Trinamul Congress chief, Mamata Banerjee (Trinamool Congress), Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala CM, Pinarayi Vijayan and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Tejashwi Yadav, the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah are also expected to attend the function, which is viewed as a show of strength of the opposition unity against the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Telengana CM Chandrashekhara Rao, who was to be present at the function, visited Bangalore on Tuesday and offered his support to Kumaraswamy. DMK chief M K Stalin and Makkal Needhi Maiam party chief Kamal Hassan informed their inability to attend the function due to the Tuticorin violence.

Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik is likely to skip the function. He has not given any reason for his absence. Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray expressed his inability to attend citing the upcoming Palghar Lok Sabha by poll in Maharashtra. He has conveyed his apologies to JD (S) national president HD Deve Gowda, who had invited him.

Elaborate arrangements have been made for the swearing-in-ceremony. A huge stage has been erected in front of the Vidhan Soudha for the oath-taking ceremony. The venue will accommodate 3,000 guests. Another 40,000 seats have been arranged for the spectators.

The organizers are expecting about 1 lakh people to witness the ceremony. Security has been tightened in and around the venue. Around 2500 police personal have been deployed to ensure the smooth conduct of the function.


BJP observes Black Day against Swearing-in 

The BJP observed the day as black day, accusing the unholy alliance between the Congress and the JD (S) of grabbing the people’s mandate from the party. The BJP workers staged protests across the state against the swearing-in. Senior BJP leaders including R Ashoka presided over the protest in Bengaluru.

Former party chief minister BS Yedyurappa who bowed out before facing the floor test on May 19 said that greed and power was the basis of the alliance and predicted that it will not last even three months.

BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao accused Rahul Gandhi of scripting the beginning of a government which has no mandate from the people. “It is a backdoor entry of the Congress to run the show in Karnataka. People of Karnataka will ultimately reject this kind of manipulated alignment completely," he said in a tweet.

Earlier, the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha had approached the Supreme Court with a plea to quash the Governor’s decision to invite Kumaraswamy to form the government, calling the post-poll alliance a fraud on the electorate. The apex court rejected the plea.

Siddaramaiah had also moved the Election Commissioner, alleging misuse of VVPAT machines in the election in Vijayapura district. However, state chief electoral officer Sanjiv Kumar rejected the charge, saying it was baseless.

 

 


23-05-2018, 11:00 AM

G Parameshwara to be sworn-in as deputy chief minister

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G Parameshwara, who has been selected for the post of deputy chief minister, will take oath along chief minister designate HD Kumaraswamy at 4.30 pm today.

He is the first dalit leader to become a Dy CM in the state. His name was finalized at a meeting Congress general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, former chief minister Siddaramaiah and senior leaders had with Kumaraswamy on Tuesday evening.

The meeting also approved the name of K R Ramesh Kumar of the Congress Party as Speaker. The AICC general secretary said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi had approved the names of the two. The Congress will have 22 ministers, including the Dy CM, and Janata Dal (Secular) 12, including the CM, in the coalition government.

The Congress had demanded two posts of Dy CMs, but Kumaraswamy leader rejected the plea. Parameshwara, a fourth MLA, was one of the top contenders for the CM’s post in 2013, but his shock defeat in the election at Koratagere in Tumakuru district dashed his chances.

He entered the Assembly this time by defeating JD (S) candidate Sudhakara Lal from the same constituency. Won election from Koratagere constituency in Tumakuru district by defeating JD(S) candidate Sudhakar Lal making it his fifth victory in state elections.

Parameshwara is one of the longest serving KPCC presidents. The 66-year-old leader has been holding the post for the last eight years. Born on August 6, 1951, Parameshwara joined the Congress in 1989 on an invite from the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. He entered the Assembly first time from Madhugiri constituency in the 1989 election.

He was elevated as minister in 1993. He served as Minister of State for Sericulture in the Veerappa Moily cabinet. He held the portfolios of Higher Education, Medical Education and Information and Publicity in the SM Krishna cabinet from 1999 to 2004. He also served as Home Minister under the Siddaramaiah cabinet for a brief period from 30 October 2015 to June 2017.

He resigned the post take charge as the party’s campaign head for the election. Parameswhara was appointed as KPCC president on October 27, 2010 and has been continuing in the post since then.

Ramesh Kumar, a five-term member of the Assembly, represents Srinivaspur constituency of Kolar district. He started his political career in the seventies with the Indian National Congress later on he moved to the Janata Party in the mid-eighties. Subsequently, in the nineties Ramesh Kumar moved to the Janata Dal. In early two thousand he came back into the Indian National Congress.

Ramesh Kumar was inducted into the Siddaramaiah government In June 2016 as a cabinet minister with the Health and Family Welfare portfolio. A leader who is acceptable to all is considered as a fit person to hold the post of the speaker in an assembly with punctured mandate.


H.D. Kumaraswamy is set to take oath as Karnataka Chief Minister

23-05-2018 10: 00 AM

BANGALORE: Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy is set to take oath as Karnataka Chief Minister at the Grand Steps of Vidhana Soudha, at 4:30 p.m. today. Alongside Kumaraswamy, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G. Parameshwara will take oath as the Deputy Chief Minister.

Governor Vajubhai Vala will administer oath of office and oath of secrecy to the Chief Minister Designate.

 Minister designates to take oath as well.

 On the much-awaited day, Kumaraswamy will be leaving for Mysore in the early hours to visit the Chamundi Temple and Chamundeshwari Temple. He will return to Bengaluru by noon for the swearing-in ceremony.

A day before, top leaders from Congress and JD(S) met to discuss the portfolio sharing between the allies, and decided that 22 out of 34 ministries would be helmed by the Congress and 12 ministries including the Chief Minister would go with the JD(S).

 Congress' KR Ramesh Kumar will be the Speaker of Karnataka's Vidhana Soudha, while the deputy speaker will be appointed from the JD(S).

 Rest of the ministry and portfolio allocation will be decided after the floor test which is due to be held on May 24.

With opposition parties across the country extending their support to a non-BJP government in the state, the ceremony is being touted as a grand affair.

Among the confirmed attendees are United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, and Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan.

The high-voltage Karnataka polls were seen as the election that sets the tone for the 2019 general elections, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which bagged the highest number of seats, dealt with a heavy blow after the Congress and JD(S) joined hands following the poll results.

 The BJP that dubbed the union of Congress and JD(S) as an “unholy alliance” has announced to observe May 23 as “Anti People’s Mandate Day”.

“The Congress and JDS hijacked the people's mandate and entered into an unholy alliance. On the day this unholy coalition government takes office, that is tomorrow, Wednesday, 23.5.2018, the BJP has decided to observe this day as "Anti People's Mandate Day," an official release from the party stated.

The BJP functionaries will stage black flag demonstration throughout the state led by state party president BS Yeddyurappa at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Bengaluru’s Ananda Rao Circle.

Kumaraswamy was invited by Governor Vajubhai Vala on May 19, to form the government in the state, after B.S. Yeddyurappa stepped down ahead of the floor test in the state assembly.

Kumaraswamy was earlier expected to take oath on May 21, but the ceremony later got pushed to May 23 due to the death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The election result for 222 out of 224 assembly constituencies had resulted in a fractured mandate, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerging as the single largest party with 104 seats, only nine seats short of the simple majority mark of 113.

 On the other hand, Congress with 78 seats and JD(S) with 37 seats, along with two independent candidates, formed a post-poll alliance with a total of 117 MLAs.

However, the Governor invited Yeddyurappa to form a government on May 16, and gave him 15 days to prove majority, amid huge uproar by the opposition.

On May 18, the Supreme Court, on the plea of the Congress and JD(S), shifted the floor test to May 19. Unable to garner the required number by the deadline, Yeddyurappa stepped down from the post of chief minister before the floor test could be conducted, mere two days after he was sworn in.

Kumaraswamy had earlier served as the chief minister of the state from February 2006 to October 2007.

In the recent elections, he won from both the constituencies he contested in - Channapatna and Ramanagara - by a comfortable margin.

JD(S) ally, Congress bagged more seats out of the two, but its chief ministerial candidate Siddaramaiah lost the Chamundeshwari seat to G T Deve Gowda of JD(S) and won in Badami only by a little over 1,600 votes.

The hung assembly in Karnataka led to an unlikely alliance of the two rival parties, but both sides now maintain that they have set aside their differences in the people’s interest. (ANI)


Rahul, Sonia approve broad contours

Karnataka chief minister designate H D Kumaraswamy is understood to have finalised broad contours of the government he will be forming in alliance with Congress Party during his discussions with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

It is learnt that Kumaraswamy has agreed to give the post of speaker and a deputy chief minister to its major ally. The allocation of the ministerial berths will be based on the strength of the two parties in the Legislative Assembly.

As Congress has 78 MLAs and two independents, the party is likely to get 20 or 21 berths while JD (S) with 38 MLAs will settle for 12 or 13 ministries. The portfolios to be allotted to the party will be finalized at Bangalore. The Congress Party is keen to get home, revenue, power and finance.

The Congress president has authorized AICC general secretary in-charge K C Venugopal to lead the negotiations in this regard. Venugopal has also been tasked with thrashing out a common minimum programme for the coalition in consultation with senior leaders of the party. It will be distilled from the poll manifestos of the two parties.

Kumaraswamy met Rahul and Sonia at the Congress chief’s residence in New Delhi in the evening on Monday. He invited both the leaders to the swearing in ceremony to be held on Wednesday, May 23. Before his meeting with Kumaraswamy, Rahul had discussed the situation in the state with party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot and Venugopal.

It is learnt that Kumaraswamy alone will take the oath on Wednesday. The ministry will be expanded after the floor test. The JD (S) has already indicated his readiness to prove his majority within 24 hours of the oath. The Congress and JD (S) legislators are still locked up in resorts and hotels as the party leaderships fear that the BJP will continue their efforts to poach the MLAs to defeat the floor test.

BJP president Amit Shah’s claim on Monday that his party will be able to form the government if the MLAs are released from their ‘lock ups’ indicates that the party has not ended its pursuit for power in Karnataka even after bowing out before the floor test on May 19


Kumaraswamy in Delhi to finalise modalities of government formation

04:00 PM

BANGALORE: After visiting temples at Holenarsipura in Hassan district, Karnataka chief minister designate H D Kumaraswamy has left for New Delhi to finalise the modalities of the government formation.


 

He will discuss the composition of the government and a common programme with Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Kumaraswamy has ruled out rotational chief minister. He said that the Congress Party had agreed to remain as the chief minister throughout the term.

The JD (S) is willing to give a majority share of the ministers to the Congress Party. The Congress is likely to get 18 to 20 ministerial births, including two deputy chief ministers, in the 34-member coalition ministry.

The formation of the ministry will not be easy for both the parties with many aspirants staking claim for position in the ministry. The Veerashaiva Mahasabha has come in the open demanding five berths, including a Dy CM post, for the community.

The formation of the ministry may be completed only after the swearing-in-ceremony and the floor test. Reports said that initially Kumaraswamy will alone take the oath. The swearing is scheduled to be held at 2 pm on Wednesday, May 23 and the floor test within 24 hours, according to the reports.

The swearing-in ceremony to be held at the Kandeerava stadium is likely to become a show of the opposition strength with leaders of most non-BJP parties confirming their participation in the event. Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal, Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu, Telengana CM Chandrashekhara Rao, BSP chief Mayavati, DMK president M K Stalin are among those who have confirmed their participation.

Political observers believe this will send out a strong signal for the unity all democratic and secular forces to unseat the Narendra Modi government from power at the centre. They believe that this will be possible if the Congress is ready to play second fiddle in states where regional parties have a strong sway.

AICC general secretary in-charge Karnataka K C Venugopal said that the Congress was ready for compromise as the party’s main objective is to keep the fascist forces away. He hoped that the alliance the Congress has forged with the JD (S) in Karnataka will inspire similar alliance in other states and the opposition will face BJP unitedly in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Kumaraswamy postpones swearing-in to Wednesday

The Janata Dal (Secular) has sought to cement its alliance with Congress Party by postponing the swearing-in of H D Kumaraswamy from Monday to Wednesday.

The party leadership agreed to postpone the oath after Congress pointed out that Monday is the death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Party leader H D Kumaraswamy will be taking the oath at Kanteerava Stadium.

The postponement of the oath will also ensure the presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother and United Progressive Alliance (UP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The JD (S) is planning to make the event a show of opposition unity.

Kumaraswamy said that he will be inviting national leaders of all anti-BJP parties like Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BSP chief Mayawati, RJD leader Tejeshwari Yadav, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao and Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu.

All these leaders had expressed solidarity with the Congress and the JD (S) when the BJP with just 104 seats in the 224-member Assembly tried to use money and muscle power to lure their MLAs after Governor Vajubhai Vala invited Yedyurappa to form a government and prove his majority withi n 15 days.

Political analysts believe that this may signal consolidation of all anti-BJP parties during the 2019 parliamentary elections. Talks of a “mahagatbandhan” have already been initiated by Telengana Rashtriya Samiti chief Chandrashekhara Rao.

Kumaraswamy’s father and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda said that the party’s alliance with Congress will continue beyond Karnataka.

“This is only the beginning. Our next destination is 2019. The need of the hour is for secular parties to come together and Karnataka has not just shown the way but has gone a step ahead in that direction by forming a government,” the 85-year-old former prime minister told Times of India.

This is seen by political analysts as an indication that he may a play a major role if the “mahagatbandhan” takes shape.


Kumaraswamy to Take Oath on Monday, G Parameshwara May be Deputy CM

Elected leader of the Congress, JD(S) alliance has reached the Raj Bhavan and is due to meet the governor in some time. He will stake a fresh claim to form a government in Karnataka. His swearing-in is likely on Monday, media reports said. 

Congress' DK Shivakumar may be made KPCC president and given a powerful ministry.

The reports also suggest that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar, and the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati, to attend HDK's swearing-in on 21 May


The PM is corruption: Rahul Gandhi

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not only abetting the corruption but is corruption himself. He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of promoting corruption in Karnataka to gain support for the BJP, which emerged the single-largest party amid split verdict thrown up by the May 12 assembly election.

Gandhi addressed the media here shortly after Yeddyurappa resigned ahead of the crucial trust vote, as the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) could not muster the numbers in the assembly.

The Congress leader congratulated members of his party and the Janata Dal-Secular for standing up to the pressure and not allowing the BJP to wean away their MLAs.

Taking a dig at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the Congress President said, "I hope the BJP and the RSS have learned a lesson that the institutions, as well as the will of the people of this country, cannot be disrespected."

Gandhi also raised the question on the moment where all the BJP legislators and the speaker walked out of the House before the national anthem.

"Did you notice that after the entire exercise in Karnataka, the BJP legislators and the speaker chose to get up and leave the House before the national anthem? This is what we are fighting today - the idea that you can choose to rubbish any institution in the country. This is something the BJP and RSS do repeatedly," he added.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, while addressing the media said, "It's the victory (BSY's resignation) of the rule of law and constitution. We would like to congratulate the MLAs of Congress and JD(S) and the independents, including one BSP candidate, who resisted arm-twisting tactics by the central government. Some of our legislatures were kidnapped. They were under the illegal custody of the BJP."

The Congress leader further said, "Our MLAs have recordings wherein the BJP leaders, including BS Yeddyurappa, approached them and tried to lure them with money and positions. But our MLAs rejected all those offers."

Meanwhile, probable Chief Minister of Congress-JDS alliance, H.D. Kumaraswamy said he is awaiting an invitation from governor Vajubhai R. Vala.

"We are waiting for an invitation from the Governor's House," Kumaraswamy said while responding to a question on when he would take oath as Karnataka's chief minister.  

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday congratulated former Prime Minister and JD-S Chief H.D. Deve Gowda, party leader H.D. Kumaraswamy and the Congress after B.S. Yeddyurappa announced his resignation as the Karnataka Chief Minister and called it a "victory of democracy".

"Democracy wins. Congratulations Karnataka. Congratulations Deve Gowdaji, Kumaraswamyji, Congress and others. Victory of the 'regional' front," Mamata tweeted.

 


Yedyurappa quits, JD (S) awaits Governor’s invitation

Curtains came down on the 48-hour political drama in Karnataka with Chief Minister Yedyurappa stepping down from the post without facing the floor test ordered by the Supreme Court on Saturday.

He announced his resignation at the end of an emotional speech delivered after swearing-in of the MLAs. He ended the speech saying that he was going to the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala.

Yedyurappa, who exuded confidence that he will prove his majority in the Assembly till the morning, veered round to the decision after his party could not cobble together the required numbers within 24 hours given by the apex court.

There have been allegations that the party had done everything possible to lure the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs by offering posts and money. The party had pinned their hope on 14 Congress MLAs, who were elected from the Lingayat belt.

Siddaramaiah himself had sought the help of Lingayath Mutt leaders to persuade the MLAs to come to his aid. However, the Congress offered no opportunity for the Mutt authorities to contact them. They hauled up the MLAs in safe places, where none could contact them.

Senior BJP leaders had also tried to establish contact with MLAs individually. They tried to lure the MLAs by offering them ministerial posts and money. The Congress that recorded the telephonic conversation of six BJP leaders, including that of Yedyurappa and his son, has released four of them, before the floor test putting the party in deep soup.

The BJP was hopeful of mustering the majority when the Governor had given Yedyurappa 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house. However, the Supreme Court dashed their hopes by curtailing the time for the confidence vote to 24 hours.

The Congress leaders have described the development as a victory of the democracy. They hoped that the Governor will now invite the JD (S) Congress combination to form the government.

“Today, democracy has been saved. What Governor should have done earlier, should do now. He should invite us to form government," said Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao.

 


Yedyurappa considers quitting before trust vote

Speculations are rife that Chief Minister Yedyurappa may step down before the floor test. Reports said that BJP has not cobbled together the number they require to prove their majority on the floor of the assembly.

The option to quit before the floor test is being considered at a high-level meeting being held in the chief minister’s camber in the Vidhan Soudha. BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao and other senior leaders like Dharmendra Pradhan, Prakash Javadekar, Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda are attending the emergency meeting.

Quoting sources in the BJP, CNN-News18 said that Yeddyurappa will resign after giving an emotional speech in the house. NDTV reported that the chief minister has sought an appointment with governor right after his speech.

The assembly, which was adjourned for lunch, will resume session at 3.30 pm. The party, which exuded hope of winning the trust vote, has found itself in a soup with allegations of horse trading flying thick and fast.

The Congress has put the chief minister himself in the dock by alleging that he had offered bribe to MLA B C Patil. The party has released an audio tape, in which Yedyurappa was heard offering him a ministerial post.

Supreme Court orders live videography of floor test

The Supreme Court has rejected the plea of the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) to replace K G Bopaiah with a senior most MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly as pro tem speaker to conduct the floor test.

However, the court has ordered live telecast of the proceedings. The court has restrained the pro tem speaker from conducting any business other than the swearing-in and floor test. Following the court verdict, the petition challenging the appointment of Bopaiah, a four-time MLA, by Governor Vajubhai Vala was withdrawn.

The three-judge bench, comprising of Justices A K Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and S. A. Bobde and headed by Justice A.K. Sikri, that ordered the floor test on Saturday observed that the convention to appoint a senior-most member in the Assembly as pro-tem speaker was not backed by law.

Justice Bobde pointed out 'there've been instances where senior most MLA wasn't appointed as Pro tem speaker. He, therefore, said that it cannot give a direction to the Governor to change the pro-tem speaker and appoint another MLA.

Senior lawyer, Kapil Sibal, who is appearing for JD (S) argued that their objection was not about the seniority but the past record of Bopaiah. He pointed out that his conduct as speaker in 2010 during a trust vote of Yedyurappa was found by the Supreme Court itself unjustified.

However, the court observed that it could not pass an order on the basis of his track record without hearing him and noted that if the court go into the appointment, the floor test will have to be postponed. The petitioners then beat a retreat and accepted the suggestion for live telecast of the proceedings.

Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, who appeared for the Congress in the hearing of the petition against the Governor’s decision to invite Yedyurappa to form a government, said that their objective was to ensure transparency of the floor test process and added that they have achieved it with the apex court ordering live telecast of the proceedings.

Speaking to reporters, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that it was the first time that the supreme court had ordered live videography of the floor test. He thanked the court for the order saying that it will solve the party’s concerns.

Meanwhile, the swearing-in of MLAs has begun under Bopaiah. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was the first to take the oath. He was followed by former chief minister Siddaramaiah. The crucial floor test is scheduled to be held at 4 PM.

Congress, JD (S) keep eyes on Supreme Court ahead of floor test

The Bharatiya Janata Party is all set for the crucial floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm even as the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) are keeping their eyes on Supreme Court for the outcome of their petition challenging the appointment of K G Bopiah as the pro tem speaker by Governor.

The three judges bench that ordered the floor test on Saturday will be hearing the petition at 10.30 AM. Unmindful of the case, Bopiah, who was administered the oath by Governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday, has taken charge at the Vidhan Soudha.

Chief Minister Yedyurappa, who addressed a legislature party meeting of the party MLAs, at hotel Shangrila, has expressed confidence that he will the floor test. This is his 6th floor test. While he lost the first test in November 2007 after JD (S) refused support, he won the second in June 2008.

His third floor test was in 2010. which Yeddyurappa won by a voice vote. However, the then governor disapproved it and recommended President’s rule. Yeddyurappa was given another chance to prove his floor strength in October, 2010.

He won the 2010 test after Bopiah, who was speaker then, disqualified 11 BJP members after they had withdrawn support. The Supreme Court then had observed that the speaker’s action did not “meet the twin tests of natural justice and fair play” and indicted him.

The Congress and the JD (S) has moved the supreme court against his appointment fearing that he may torpedo the present floor test. They argued that he was appointed by the governor in violation of the convention of appointing a senior most MLA as the pro-term speaker.

Meanwhile, Yedyurappa has expressed confidence that he will win the test and continue as the chief minister. Addressing the party workers, he urged them to remain calm and start the celebration after 5 pm. He also said that the Cabinet meeting will be held on Sunday and take all policy decisions, including the welfare measures for the farmers.

The Congress camp also appeared confident that none of their MLAs will switch over to the BJP side. JD (S) leader H D Kumamaraswamy had on Friday alleged that two his MLAs were hijacked by the BJP.

The Congress heaved a sigh of relief after two MLAs, who did not join the group in Hyderabad, surfaced in Bangalore. Congress MLA B Narayan Rao from Basavakalyan claimed that they will BJP and JD (S) MLAs were together. “We are 117 of us together. We will get justice and we are 100 percent sure about it,” he added.

The district administration has made elaborate arrangements for the floor. Prohibitory orders under section 144 have been imposed around the Vidhan Soudha to ensure smooth conduct of the floor test. Reports said that the police had deployed 3000 personnel around the assembly.


Congress releases audio clip, alleging bid to bribe MLAs

The political drama in Karnataka has turned murkier with Congress accusing the BJP of spreading the net to lure the MLAs from the rival camp by offering money and posts.

The party has released an audio purported to mining baron Janardhanan Reddy offering a ministerial position and money to the Raichur MLA of the Congress to prove the allegation. In the audio clip, Reddy was heard saying that his party’s national president Amit Shah will fix the deal if he was ready to switch side.

Times Now quoted Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad as saying that the BJP had approached 21 party MLAs. The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs are now in Hyderabad. They are expected to return to Bangalore later in the night.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah has gone to Bangalore to escort them back to the state capital. Meanwhile, BJP MLAs are gathering at the Shangrila hotel in the city to discuss the strategy to be adopted for the floor test tomorrow. Chief Minister B S Yedyurappa will be addressing them.


7 PM

Congress to challenge pro tem speaker’s appointment

The Congress is planning to go back to the Supreme Court against the appointment of BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as pro tem speaker of Karnataka Assembly by Governor Vajubhai Vala for the floor test to be conducted on Saturday.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi that the party was exploring the possibility of challenging the appointment of Bopiah as he was appointed in violation of the convention to appoint the senior-most MLA as the pro tem speaker.

The senior-most MLA in the assembly is R V Deshpande, whose name was in the list of senior legislatures forwarded to the governor by the assembly secretariat. While Deshpande is an eight-time MLA, Bopiah is a three-time MLA.

Surjewala said that Bopaiah’s partisan conduct as speaker during the last term of the Yedyurappa government between 2009 and 2013 had come under criticism. In May 2011, the Supreme Court quashed his decision to disqualify 16 MLAs ahead of a no-confidence motion against the Yedyurappa government in October 2010.

Yeddyurappa government could survive after 11 rebel BJP MLAs and five Independent MLAs were disqualified by Bopaiah on the eve of the voting. The 16 MLAs had withdrawn their support to the government on October 6, 2010 and were suspended on 11 October, 2010.

Surjewala said that the Supreme Court had then given stinging structures against Bopaiah, he said adding that there was no need for appointing a junior MLA as pro-term when there were several others, including one in BJP, senior to him.

"In the current situation, ​Deshpande should have been appointed the pro tem speaker without any doubt. He may have been elected on a Congress ticket but at least his unbiasedness and his respect are intact, unlike Bopaiah," Surjewala said.

 

5,20 PM

BENGALURU : Another controversy has erupted in Karnataka before the crucial floor test on Saturday with Governor Vajubhai Vale appointing KG Bopaiah of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as Pro Tem speaker.

According to reports, the governor selected him from a list of senior legislators submitted to him by the Assembly secretariat. Eight-time Congress MLA R V Deshpande was the senior most legislator in the list. However, the governor ignored his name.

Bopiah, who is a three-MLA, was also appointed as pro-term speaker last time when Yedyurappa was elected chief minister of Karnataka. Sources in the BJP justified the appointment saying that it was based on his experience. However, Congress leaders pointed out that Deshpande had also acted as pro term speaker in the last assembly.

According to convention, pro term speaker is usually the senior most MLA in the house. Subhash Kashyap, a former secretary general of Lok Sabha, told India Today news channel that the seniority could be either in age or in the number of terms he has served the legislature.

Bopiah is much junior to Deshpande on both counts. The Congress has objected to the governor's decision and said that the convention should have been followed.

The pro tem speaker will have a crucial role to play as he has to decide the mode of the floor test according to the Supreme Court verdict. The floor test is significant since none of the three players have the required majority to form the government.


3 PM

Karnataka Congress team leaves for Hyderabad to escort MLAs back for floor test

Having won the legal battle in the Supreme Court, the Karnataka Congress and the Janata Dal (S) have geared up their machinery to hold their flocks together for the floor test to be held on the floor of the Legislative Assembly tomorrow.

According to reports, the MLAs held together in Hyderabad now will be brought to Bangalore only by the time the Assembly session begins. A Times Now report said that the senior leaders of the two parties have left Hyderabad and the discuss the strategy to be adopted for defeating the confidence vote to be moved by chief minister B S Yedyurappa.

The Congress team to be led by former chief minister Siddaramaiah has gone Hyderabad by a chartered flight. The team will include senior leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, G Parameshwara etc. The team will escort the MLAs back to Bangalore on Saturday

The move is significant in the context of the confidence expressed by the BJP camp that they will win the floor test. Chikmangaluru-Udupi MP and BJP State General Secretary Shobha Karandlaje has been claiming that Yedyurappa is having the support of 120 MLAs in the 224-Assembly.

Senior Congress leaders said that all but one of their 87 MLAs were intact. The party is doubtful about Vijayanagara MLA elect Ananand Singh, who have not been in touch with the party since Governor invited Yedyurappa to form the government.

While Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that he has been abducted by the central government, JD (S) leader H D Kumaraswamy said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had poached the Congress MLA by raking up a case pending against him in the Enforcement Directorate (ED). Kumaraswamy alleged that Home Minister Rajnath Singh had threatened to “screw” him if he did not join the BJP.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka that he was hopeful that all the 78 party MLAs will attend the Assembly session and cast their vote against Yedyurappa. However, the Congress camp is doubtful whether the BJP will allow the proceedings to be conducted peacefully if they fail to muster the required majority.

Their only consolation is that pro-term speaker will be Congress MLA R V Deshpande according to the Supreme Court verdict. Though Deshpande has not received any intimation from the Raj Bhavan about his appointment, Congress leaders believe that Governor will not violate the apex court order and appoint Deshpande.

The Governor appoints the senior-most legislator of the House as a Pro term Speaker. Speaking to News18, RV Deshpande, who is the senior-most member of the Karnataka Assembly said, "Have not received any confirmation from Raj Bhavan whether I will be the pro term Speaker tomorrow. Generally, the senior-most legislator is appointed as the Pro term Speaker but since I have not been asked yet, so I cannot say anything."

According to the three-bench verdict, the pro-term speaker will decide the mode of the floor test. The apex court has already rejected the Attorney General’s plea for secret ballot. Deshpande, who is an eight-time MLA, told CNN-News that he will conduct the floor test in a transparent manner.


 11 AM

Supreme Court orders floor test on Saturday

BENGALURU : The Supreme Court has ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly to prove the majority of the BJP government led by B S Yedyurappa tomorrow (May 19).

A three-bench judge passed the order after hearing the counsels of Congress, Janata Dal (S) and the BJP on the petition filed by the first two questioning the governor’s decision to invite the Yedyurappa to form the government and to give him 15 days’ time to prove it on the floor of the Assembly.

While the counsels for the Congress expressed their readiness to face the floor test tomorrow, Mukul Rohtagi, who represented the BJP, sought at least time up to Monday to conduct the floor test. He argued that it was difficult for the party to bring all the MLAs to Bangalore since many of them have gone out of the state after the election.

However, the bench, comprising Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, court rejected the plea and said that an immediate floor test was the only way to remove the cloud of uncertainty hanging over Karnataka. The court also quashed the government order nominating a representative of the Anglo-Indian community to the house.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, who appeared for the Central Government, pleaded for a secret ballot during the floor test. The court rejected this too and said that the floor test will be conducted as per the normal procedure under a senior MLA as the pro-term speaker.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Shoha Purandeshwari welcomed the supreme court verdict and asserted that Yedyurappa would prove his majority on the floor of the legislative assembly as directed by the court.

 


9 AM

Congress steps up protest along with legal battle

BENGALURU : After moving their MLAs out of Bangalore to prevent BJP from poaching, the Congress Party has decided to step up its protest against the swearing-in of BJP leader B S Yedyurappa along with the legal battle in the Supreme Court.

While the party has already launched protests in Goa and Manipur against the ‘arbitrary’ decision of the governors not to give them an opportunity to form government as the single largest party in the Assembly, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) is geared to take out a march to the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore for not applying the same yardstick his counterparts applied Manipur and Goa.
The governors of Goa and Manipur had invited a post-poll alliance stitched by the BJP to form the government. However, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala refused to take cognizance of the Janata Dal (S)-Congress alliance which claimed a majority of 117 MLAs in the 224-house and gave the BJP with 104 MLAs the opportunity to form the government.

The Congress protests is expected to begin from the KPCC office at 11 AM. Senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, K C Venugopal and Siddaramaraiah will join the 2-km march to the Raj Bhavan, according to party sources.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has also called for protests all over the country against the "partisan’ act of Karnataka Governor. The party has sought an appointment with President Ramnath Kovind to register their protest against the “undemocratic” action of the Karnataka governor.
In Telengana, where the Congress MLAs have been sheltered, the party has planned protests in all districts. AICC in-charge of Telengana, Khuntia said that the party workers will stage dharnas and rallies across the state on Friday.

Leader of Opposition in Telangana Assembly, Mohammad Ali Shabbir requested Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to join the rally in Hyderabad. The chief minister had on Thursday offered safe shelter to the Congress and JDS MLAs in his state.

According to reports, the Congress and JDS MLAs had reached Hyderabad early morning on Friday and were lodged at Park Hyatt. News18 reported that they were later shifted to Taj Krishna hotel. According to sources, three Congress MLAs did not join the flock while all the 37 MLAs are said to be in the Taj Hotel.
Meanwhile, all eyes are focus on the Supreme Court with the three-judge bench taking up the JDS-Congress petition against the governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form a government without majority. However, the Congress does not expect the apex court to quash the swearing-in of Yedyurappa.

The party feel that the court may reduce the 15 days’ time given to Yedyurappa to prove his majority on the floor of the house. It may not be easy for BJP to demonstrate the majority as the rival camp is claiming that they have more number of MLAs than that of BJP.

The BJP can overcome the test in the assembly if only 209 MLAs attend the session. To ensure this they have to keep 12 MLAs away from the assembly on the fatal day. The BJP has been trying to reach out to the disgruntled Congress and JD (S) MLAs to ensure this.

The BJP apparently needs time to achieve this. If the Supreme Court cut short the time given by the governor it will seal the fate of the Yedyurappa government. Reports from Delhi said that the three-judge bench hearing the Congress-JDS petition has already asked the party counsel whether the government can conduct the floor test on Saturday.    

                                                                                                                                                                               Image Credit: Deccan Chronicle

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