Bangalore/Chennai: Embattled Karnataka Chief
Minister B S Yeddyurappa today faced a herculean task to
survive tomorrow`s trust vote with the 11 rebel BJP MLAs
getting a reprieve from the Speaker who was also asked by the
Governor not to disqualify them before floor test in assembly.
With the numbers game becoming critical to survive, the
ruling party continues to be in a minority falling nine short
of the magic mark of 113 if the 14 BJP rebels including the 11
who got show cause notices from the Speaker and five
independents all of whom who have revolted against
Yeddyurappa, do not relent.
In a House strength of 224, the BJP`s strength has
reduced from 117 to 103 including the Speaker and has the
support of one Independent after 19 dissidents withdrew
support to BJP`s first government in the South on Tuesday
reducing it to a minority. Congress has 73 MLAs and JDS 28.
The BJP rebels` strength remained at 14 though three of
them deserted since an equal number from the ruling party
Already facing the heat of Kumaraswamy`s machinations to
dislodge its 28-month-old government, the BJP was unable to
woo back their men with the 11 BJP dissidents holding their
ground rallying behind the former chief minister. The rebels
flew into Bangalore from Chennai this evening and were taken
to an undisclosed location, according to sources.
Sacked Fisheries Minister Anand Asnotikar claimed that
the dissident MLAs were all "united".
With the Karnataka crisis on a knife-edge, Governor H R
Bhardwaj stepped in and opened another front when he directed
Speaker K G Bopaiah to maintain status quo on the House
strength as on October 6 before the rebels withdrew support
reducing the Government to a minority.
Apparently going by the Governor`s directive, the Speaker
reserved orders on the petition by Yeddyurappa praying for
disqualifying the 11 rebels from the Assembly on the charge of
anti-party activities under the anti-defection law giving a
reprieve to the dissidents.
Bopaiah, who heard counsels of the rebels and the
Government for more than three hours, ruled that he has
reserved his orders, Legislature sources said in Bangalore.
Bhardwaj in his letter to Bopaiah had directed him
not to change the character or configuration of the house in
the run up to the trust vote.
Kumaraswamy said in Chennai his party and Congress would
work together to see the fall of the BJP government during the
crucial trust vote.
Raj Bhavan sources said here that the Governor in
his letter to the Speaker directed that the strength of the
224-member assembly which stood as on Oct 6 should be
maintained and that all legislators should be allowed to take
part in the confidence vote exercise.
The directive which effectively barred any action being
taken against any MLA came as a dampener to the ruling BJP,
which had been hoping to get a favourable order on
disqualification of 11 rebel MLAs, against whom Yeddyurappa
has filed a complaint under provisions of the anti-defection
law after they withdrew support to his government.
Bhardwaj in his letter said in the interest of a free
and fair floor test, no attempt should be made to change the
character or configuration of the house after it has been
summoned for the purpose.
"Any attempt to change the character or configuration of
the house in the run up to the vote of confidence motion, is
bound to vitiate the proceedings", he noted.
The Governor cautioned that "any result obtained by such
a vitiative proceedings will not be acceptable".
The first ever BJP government in the South, tottering
under revolt of the dissidents who have declared their intent
to go against the trust vote tomorrow, had been toying with
the idea of bringing down the effective strength of the house
to ensure a smooth sailing for itself during the trust vote.
Bhardwaj, in a clear warning, said if there was any
alteration in the numbers ignoring his directive, his decision
would be final.
He said the process of Yeddyurappa seeking the trust
vote tomorrow to prove his government`s majority as per his
direction should be held as per law.
Kumaraswamy, who is in Chennai to hold parleys with
dissident BJP MLAs, told reporters, "Both JD(S) and Congress
are in the opposition. We are together going to defeat BJP."