Karnataka speaker disqualifies 14 rebel MLAs

Karnataka Assembly speaker K R Ramesh, today, disqualified 14 rebel MLAs with immediate effect till end of the term of the assembly ahead of Monday’s confidence vote for chief minister BS Yeddiyurappa.

The 14 MLAs who had resigned earlier this month include Pratapgouda Patil, BC Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, ST Somashekhar, BA Basavaraja, Anand Singh, R Roshan Baig, Munirathna, K Sudhakar, MTB Nagaraj, AH Vishwanath, K Gopalaiah and Narayana Gowda and Shrimanth Patil The Speaker announced the disqualification of the MLAs at a press conference in Bengaluru.

Eleven of the lawmakers disqualified are from the Congress and three from the Janata Dal (S). The resignation of the MLAs which began on July 6, eventually led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy government on July 23 after a trust vote. He said that on being advised by the chief minister he had directed the secretariat to convene a session on Monday at 11 am. “Therefore, I have to make my pronouncement on the remaining complaints pending before the Speaker.”

At present, there are 222 MLAs in the Karnataka Assembly. Congress MLAs R Shankar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli were disqualified on Thursday. The BJP, with 105 MLAs, has an edge over the coalition, which garnered 99 votes in the floor test held on Tuesday.

“The way I’m being pressured to deal with the situation being a speaker. All these things have pushed me into a sea of depression,” Ramesh said just before announcing the disqualifications.

“I had 13 resignations petition left before me and 14 disqualification petitions. I have considered all the petitions before me. I had asked the members who resigned to appear before me to convince me that their resignations were voluntary and genuine. They failed to do so,” he said after announcing the names of the MLAs who were disqualified.

He also seemed not unduly worried about any no-trust motion being brought against him in the assembly and said he was even ready to resign on July 23. “Let me see when no trust motion is brought against me…. I carried a resignation letter on July 23 because I wanted to resign if the matter dragged on that day because I did not want to carry that burden.”

The Speaker said he is yet to take a call on the fate of BSP MLA N Mahesh after the party sought his expulsion because he abstained from the trust vote on July 23. “My office is in receipt of a letter from the BSP seeking expulsion of its MLA (N Mahesh). I have not taken a call on that after the hearing,” Kumar said.

Congress leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah welcomed the Speaker’s decision. “I welcome the decision of spreaker to disqualify 14 MLAs. This honest decision of speaker will send strong signals for all the representatives in the country who might fall for @BJP4India’s trap,” he tweeted.

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