Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy during the vote of confidence in Assembly Session at Vi-dhana Soudha, in Bengaluru, yesterday. Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote 99-105. Image Credit: PTI

Bengaluru: Beleaguered Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy yesterday lost the trust vote in the Assembly by 6 votes in the floor test held after a four-day long marathon debate on the confi-dence motion he moved on July 18.

“Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has lost the floor test, as 99 votes were in favour of the confidence mo-tion and 105 against it,” Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar told the members of the House after the trust vote.

Of the 225-member Karnataka Assembly, 20 legislators were absent for the floor test, reducing the House strength to 204 with 103 as the halfway mark for simple majority.

BJP’s claim

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will stake claim to form the next government in Karnataka today after meeting Governor Vajubhai Vala, state BJP leader R. Ashoka said.

Governor Vala yesterday accepted the resignation of Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister of the 14-month-old JD(S)-Congress coalition government and asked him to continue as the caretaker CM till alternative arrangements were made.

“Kumaraswamy moved the motion for trust vote. As per the procedure, voice vote was conducted first, followed by division of voters after opposition leader B.S. Yeddyurappa of the BJP pressed for division. I will vote only if there is a tie. To save the dignity of the chair, I will not vote now,” the Speak-er said in Kannada.

In the division of votes, 99 were for the motion and 105 against it.

Of the 20 legislators who were absent from the floor test, 15 were rebels of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition, two Congress members who are admitted to hospitals in Bengaluru and Mumbai, two Independents and one BSP member.

The political crisis gripped the fledgling government in the state after 13 Congress and 3 JD-S rebels resigned between July 1 and July 10 in protest against decisive leadership and lack of development across the southern state. Senior Congress lawmaker and former minister R. Ramalinga Reddy, how-ever, withdrew his resignation and voted in favour of the motion yesterday.

Though the BJP sought Kumaraswamy’s resignation for losing the majority in the Assembly after the rebels refused to withdraw their resignations and two Independents, who were ministers in his 34-member cabinet, withdrew support, a defiant outgoing CM moved the confidence motion to prove majority in the hope that the rebels will return to the coalition fold.

Meanwhile, reeling from the impact of a disastrous result in the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress is going through a deep crisis, with uncertainty over the leadership at the top and exodus of legislators and senior leaders in some states.

Series of setbacks

The 134-year-old Congress, which ruled the country for nearly 60 years after Independence, has been witnessing serial setbacks and has been worst hit in Karnataka, Telangana and Goa.

The unrest in the Congress was fuelled by the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, whose results came on May 23 and gave the party only 52 seats in the 545-member House.

The stunned party’s woes increased with Rahul Gandhi tendering his resignation as Congress Presi-dent immediately after the poll results came, creating a sort of vacuum in the leadership and uncer-tainty among the cadres, which persists even though months on.

Some Congress leaders in private say that they are not aware who is running the show in the party now since Rahul Gandhi has refused to reconsider his resignation and recently made public that he was no more the President.