Karnataka crisis: Heated debate on in Assembly as deadline set by Governor ends

Karnataka Speaker Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team Bengaluru Jul 19, 2019, 12.28 PM (IST)

The future of the ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition is likely to be decided on Friday even as the deadline set by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai ended at 1.30pm today.

Speaker Ramesh Kumar said that the directive of the Governor is applied to the chief minister and he cannot be forced by any time constraint.

"Unless the discussion is complete, you cannot press for division of votes for the floor test," said the Speaker.

"Governor's order has to be followed or not, it has to be decided by chief minister because the letter was sent to him, so he has to decide," he further added

Earlier in the day, chief minister HD Kumaraswamy had asked the Speaker to decide on the floor test.

"We have already moved the confidence motion. I request the speaker to decide on whether the Governor can direct me to hold the floor test today," he said.

Kumaraswamy asserted he would not misuse power to save his government. "Let's have discussion. You can still form government. Nothing urgent. You can do it on Monday or Tuesday also. I am not going to misuse power," Kumaraswamy told the BJP.

On Thursday, Governor, in a letter to Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, asked him to hold the floor test by 1.30pm on Friday. "Though a message as contemplated under Article 175(2) is sent to the Speaker, I am informed that the House is adjourned today i.e, 18-07-2019. Under these circumstances, I require you to prove your majority on the floor of the house on or before 1.30 pm tomorrow" stated the Governor's letter. 

An earlier letter to the Speaker by Governor to conduct the floor test by the end of Thursday was merely dismissed as a suggestion and not an order. 

Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy moved confidence motion in the state Assembly at 11 am on Thursday to prove the majority of his government amidst rebellion by a section of the lawmakers.

He claimed that the dissenting legislators had moved the apex court with the BJP's assistance."A situation has been created so that people lose trust in us. Without any discussion they have wanted a trust vote", Kumaraswamy said.

Senior Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah that a floor test in the House will not be appropriate until a clarification is attained on the Supreme Court order allowing freedom to the 15 rebel MLAs from participating in the House proceedings.

"If we go ahead with the confidence motion, if the whip is applicable and they (rebel MLAs) don't come to the house because of the SC order, it will be a big loss to the coalition government," he said.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders claimed JD(S)-Congress coalition was delaying the trust vote fearing imminent defeat due to lack of majority numbers.

BJP legislators staged a night-long sit-in at Vidhana Soudha, protesting against the Congress-JD(S) government dragging its feet on the trust vote.

(With inputs from agencies)