Karnataka Speaker sets 6 pm final deadline for floor test

The Karnataka Assembly was adjourned close to midnight on Monday with Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar setting a new deadline of 6 pm, today, for the trust vote. “I do not want this 11 pm thing again,” he asserted.

Earlier in the day, Ramesh Kumar insisted that the trust vote not be postponed. “I want to stick to my word,” he told the legislators. “Let’s wrap up the speeches soon.”

However, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy sought time till Wednesday for the floor test. He requested the Speaker to postpone the vote till the Supreme Court clarifies its order on the whip issued to 15 rebel MLAs from the ruling coalition who have resigned.

On July 17, the Supreme Court had ruled that the legislators cannot be compelled to take part in the trust vote. Subsequently, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) filed pleas seeking clarification about the order.

Ramesh Kumar said the parties were free to issue whip to its legislators, including the 15 rebels, to take part in the trust vote. The Speaker also summoned 12 rebel Congress MLAs on the basis of a disqualification plea by former Chief Minister and Congress Legislature Party chief Siddaramaiah for failing to attend the session despite being issued a whip.The Speaker directed the disgruntled legislators to meet him at 11 am on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy produced his fake resignation letter circulating on social media. In additional relief to his embattled government, the Supreme Court refused to urgently list a plea of two legislators urging the court to direct Ramesh Kumar to complete the floor test before 5 pm on Monday. The top court may take up the matter on Tuesday.

The ruling coalition’s strength in the 225-member Assembly is 118, including the 15 rebel MLAs and a nominated member. The Opposition BJP has the support of 107 MLAs, including an Independent legislator and an MLA from the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party. The rebel MLAs want Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to accept their resignations. However, he has sought time to go through their letters.

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