Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Friday missed the second deadline of 6pm (4.30pm UAE time) set by Governor Vajubhai Vala to prove the Congress-JD(S)coalition government’s majority in the Assembly.
“As the debate on the confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister on Thursday did not conclude in the Assembly, Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar could not conduct the floor test by the 6pm deadline set by the governor for the second time,” an official told IANS.
The governor directed the chief minister to prove the majority by 6pm after the 1.30pm deadline he had set on Thursday night lapsed, as the discussions on the motion did not conclude by then, even as the Speaker adjourned the House till 3pm.
In response to the demand of the ruling Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) lawmakers to allow them to participate in the discussions, the Speaker said that he would extend the session’s time for a couple of hours, but pleaded with them to end the debate by yesterday and conclude the floor test.
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) insisted on conducting the floor test by yesterday night itself.
Kumaraswamy and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Krishna Byre Gowda appealed to the Speaker to extend the debate to Monday, assuring him to complete the floor test.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah also sought time till Monday.
“The chief minister failed to prove majority in the Assembly by 1.30pm, the deadline set by the governor on Thursday,” opposition BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa told the speaker after the first deadline lapsed.
When the former three-time BJP chief minister urged the speaker to conduct the floor test forthwith, Kumar said that he would do it after the discussions on the confidence motion were completed by the treasury and the opposition members.
“Voice vote on the confidence motion only after discussions on it by the treasury and opposition members. Division of votes will be looked into if anyone demands for it after the voice vote,” said Kumar.
In a letter issued on Thursday night, Vala had directed the chief minister to prove majority by 1.30pm yesterday, a time set in response to BJP’s complaint to him on the dilatory tactics of the ruling allies on the confidence motion that Kumaraswamy had moved on Thursday.
“I require you to prove your majority on or before 1.30pm tomorrow (yesterday),” said Vala in the letter after his Thursday’s order to complete the floor test by the end of the day also lapsed.
Resuming the inconclusive debate on the motion, stalled six times due to ruckus between the lawmakers of the ruling allies and the BJP, Kumaraswamy said that it was for the Speaker to decide on the governor’s order as to when he should prove the majority on the floor of the House.
“It is not for me to decide by when I should prove the majority. It is the Speaker who is the custodian of the House and has the supreme authority to decide how the session should be conducted,” said Kumaraswamy.
Intervening in the debate, Byre Gowda said the governor cannot give such an order on the motion which was being debated by the ruling parties and the opposition members.
“We fail to understand how the governor could direct the chief minister to prove majority in a limited timeframe without completing the debate by both sides and hearing the reply on it by the chief minister as mentioned in the rule book,” said Gowda.
A restive BJP told the Speaker not to allow the ruling combine to further delay the floor test as there was no stay on it from the Supreme Court on the trial of strength.
Rejecting the BJP’s demand, ruling lawmakers asked the Governor to go back and accused him of being a BJP agent who was converting the Raj Bhavan into a BJP office.
About 20 legislators, including 14 from the Congress, three from the JD-S and three Independents, were absent in the 225-member Karnataka Assembly when the session began yesterday.