HD Kumaraswamy Government Falls In Karnataka ; BJP Says 'Game Of Karma'

HD Kumaraswamy Government Falls In Karnataka ; BJP Says

New Delhi: The coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal-Secular - teetering for weeks -- collapsed today, failing the floor test in the Karnataka assembly. The coalition cobbled up only 99 votes in comparison to the 105 votes of the BJP, which later tweeted that it was the "Game of karma". The demand for trust vote came as 16 legislators resigned and two Independents withdrew support to the government over the last fortnight. The trust vote -- pending since Friday - was held this evening after a lengthy back and forth. State capital Bengaluru has been placed under prohibitory orders banning large gatherings after the northern part of the city witnessed a clash between the Congress and the BJP workers over the two independent lawmakers who switched sides.

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Responding to the debate, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said he was "not particularly worried about the end of this debate". He also got emotional, saying he would "happily give up... rather than all this". "I have acted with decency. The last 14 months has been - 'will they stay or will they go' - and I thank my party leaders for staying through it all. The objections to us started on Day 1 of the coalition government," he added.

Ahead of the debate, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar made lacerating comments after seeing near empty treasury benches in the assembly despite a 6 pm deadline for the trust vote. "Should this be the fate of the Speaker or the assembly?" Mr Kumar demanded. "You will lose credibility, leave alone strength," he said.

Thirteen of the rebel lawmakers have written to the Speaker asking for more time to meet him over a disqualification notice against them. "You are aware that the Disqualification Rule, 1986, requires a minimum of 7 days period. In spite of the same, the proceedings are being hurried up. In these circumstances, I request you to grant four weeks' time to appear," the letter read, according to news agency ANI.

On Monday, the house witnessed huge disruption after the Speaker demanded that the lawmakers cut short their speech. Amid the chaos, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy distributed copies of what he claimed was a fake letter of resignation that was being circulated by his political rivals.With around 20 legislators yet to speak, the house was finally adjourned for the day close to midnight.

On Friday, a trust vote could not be held despite a deadline from Governor Vajubhai Vala. The house was adjourned after marathon speeches by Mr Kumaraswamy and other coalition leaders. The BJP accused the government of delaying the trust vote with lengthy speeches in hopes of reprieve from the Supreme Court. The coalition has accused the BJP of trying to draw away lawmakers to seize power.

Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar told NDTV that he was trying to convince the rebels to comply with the party whip. "Whatever BJP wants and whatever these members want, the rebels will suffer in the end... They will be disqualified. 100% the constitution provides for this," he told NDTV.

HD Kumaraswamy and the Congress have moved the top court, accusing the governor of interfering with the assembly proceedings when the debate on the trust vote was underway and sought clarification on its July 17 order, which they said, stopped them from issuing a whip to the rebel legislators.

Today, appearing for two independent legislators who withdrew support to the government and urged the Supreme Court to order a floor test, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the Speaker has been pushing the date for the floor test. "Yesterday, he said 'I will do it by midnight'. But he's not done it," Mr Rohatgi said. The Court said if the floor test is not held today, it would hear the plea tomorrow.

Sixteen legislators - 13 from the Congress and three from JDS - resigned in the last two weeks, and two independent legislators withdrew support to the coalition government. The ruling coalition received marginal relief when Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati directed her party's lone legislator in Karnataka, N Mahesh, to support it.

The coalition had 118 members in the 224-member assembly. If the resignations of the 15 legislators who approached the Supreme Court are accepted, the government will be left with 101 members. With the support of the two independents, the opposition BJP has 107 legislators, which is two more than the majority mark of 105.

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