Thirteen months after taking over as the Chief Minister, HD Kumaraswamy will be facing a trust vote at the floor of the Karnataka Assembly. After 13 Congress and three Janata Dal Secular MLAs resigned earlier this month, Kumaraswamy looks to be massively short of the required numbers to keep his government afloat.
While the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that the rebel MLAs cannot be pressured to vote, Kumaraswamy has issued a whip to party MLAs - including the ones who have dissented, to be present in the Assembly for the floor test. He has even warned that if MLAs do not attend the House and if they vote against the party, action under the Anti-Defection Law will be initiated against them.
If the 16 MLAs skip voting or if the Speaker accepts their resignations, the effective strength of the House will be reduced to 209, including the Speaker. In such a scenario, the halfway-mark for the government to prove its majority will come down to 105. With 16 MLAs pulling out support, the Congress-JDS government which formed government with the support of 117 MLAs will have only 101 legislators by its side. As of now, it has the support of the lone BSP MLA. The Anglo-Indian MLA which the government nominated may also be expected to vote in favour of the combine. Despite the support of these two, the numbers are stacked strongly against them.
The Bharatiya Janata Pary (BJP), on the other hand, all the 105 MLAs that who bagged their seats in the 2018 Assembly eletions are with the party. If the halfway mark is reduced to 105, the BJP with its 105 MLAs plus one Independent MLA and one Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party MLA, can easily prove its majority in the House.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar has not yet accepted the resignations of the rebel MLAs who had stepped down earlier this month. Though the apex court ruled that they cannot be forced to take part in the trust vote, the court also added that the Speaker cannot be given a time frame to decide on the resignations. However, he has been told to take a call as soon as possible.