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Karnataka’s HD Kumaraswamy Government Falls; BJP Says ‘Game Of Karma’

Over the last weeks, 16 coalition legislators have resigned and two Independents withdrew support to the government and the trust vote has been pending since last week.

BJP lawmakers celebrating inside the Karnataka assembly (file)

NEW DELHI:  The one-year-old coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular – teetering for weeks — collapsed on Tuesday, paving the way for the BJP’s return to power in Karnataka. The coalition failed the floor test in the assembly, cobbling up only 99 votes in comparison to the 105 votes of the BJP, which later dubbed it a “Game of Karma”. The demand for trust vote came as 16 legislators resigned and two Independents withdrew support to the government within a fortnight. The trust vote, pending since Friday, was held this evening after a back and forth between the Speaker, the coalition and the BJP — and prodding from Governor Vajubhai Vala — that stretched over a week.
Here’s your 10-point cheat sheet on the story:
  1. “It is a victory of democracy. People were fed up with the Kumaraswamy government. I want to assure people of Karnataka that a new era of development will start now,” said state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa, who is set to be the Chief Minister for the fourth time. “It’s the victory of people of Karnataka. It’s the end of an era of corrupt & unholy alliance. We promise stable & able governance to the people of Karnataka,” the state BJP tweeted.
  2. The trust vote came after a tug of war between the ruling coalition and the BJP that even reached the Supreme Court. The debate extended over Monday and Tuesday despite Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s Monday deadline. Ahead of Tuesday’s session, the Speaker made lacerating comments after seeing near-empty treasury benches in the assembly. “Should this be the fate of the Speaker or the assembly?” Mr Kumar demanded. “You will lose credibility, leave alone strength,” he said.
  3. Last Friday, a trust vote could not be held despite two deadlines from the Governor. The house was adjourned after marathon speeches by Mr Kumaraswamy and other coalition leaders. The BJP accused the government of delaying the trust vote with lengthy speeches in hopes of a reprieve from the Supreme Court.
  4. Responding to the debate this evening, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy — who has already handed his resignation to the Governor — said he was “not particularly worried about the end of this debate” and that he would “happily give up… rather than all this”. “I have acted with decency. The last 14 months has been – ‘will they stay or will they go’ – and I thank my party leaders for staying through it all,” he added.
  5. After the trust vote, the Congress, while slamming the BJP for “unscrupulous political horse-trading”, said it was a “moral victory” and promised to hold nationwide protests against the “immoral, blatant and brazen political destabilization”.
  6. The Congress and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular had tied up last May as the counting of votes in the assembly elections indicated a hung verdict with the BJP emerging as the single largest party.  But since beginning, the coalition had been shaky, with lawmakers from the two parties being at loggerheads.
  7. The BJP, which declared that the alliance was political opportunism, predicted that the government will collapse after the national elections. In May, the party scooped up 26 of the state’s 28 Lok Sabha seats, the alliance got only two. Earlier this month, 16 legislators – 13 from the Congress and three from JDS – resigned and two independent legislators withdrew support to the coalition government.
  8. Both Mr Kumaraswamy and Congress’s Siddaramaiah said the rebels will be punished. “I would like to reaffirm that those who have fallen for Operation Kamala will never be inducted back to our party,” Siddaramaiah tweeted. Another tweet read: “15-16 of our MLAs violated the whip by abstaining from the House during trust vote, thereby, it is a clear violation of Schedule 10 (of the Constitution) and attracts disqualification.”
  9. Thirteen of the rebel lawmakers have written to the Speaker asking for more time to meet him over a disqualification notice against them. “You are aware that the Disqualification Rule, 1986, requires a minimum of 7 days period. In spite of the same, the proceedings are being hurried up. In these circumstances, I request you to grant four weeks’ time to appear,” the letter read, according to news agency ANI.
  10. State capital Bengaluru has been placed under prohibitory orders banning large gatherings after the northern part of the city witnessed a clash between the Congress and the BJP workers over the two independent lawmakers who switched sides.

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