Bengaluru / New Delhi: The Supreme Court today allowed 10 rebel MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka to meet the Assembly Speaker at 6 pm to convey to him their decision to resign.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Karnataka Assembly speaker to decide on the resignation of the MLAs during the course of the day. The bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said the decision taken by the Speaker has to be intimated on Friday when the court takes up the matter again.
The apex court also directed the Karnataka DGP to provide protection to the 10 MLAs from Bengaluru airport to the assembly after their arrival from Mumbai. Meanwhile in Delhi, Congress MPs held a protest against the ruling BJP in Parliament today over the political crisis which has hit the party in Karnataka and Goa. A number of top Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Anand Sharma, protested near the Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex and shouted slogans. They also carried placards with messages like “Save Democracy.”
The Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka is in a turmoil after several MLAs, mostly of the Congress, resigned from the Assembly, threatening the stability of the ruling dispensation. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has claimed that the Karnataka government has been reduced to a minority and has demanded Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s resignation.
In Goa, the Congress suffered a serious setback on Wednesday as 10 of its 15 MLAs quit the party and joined the BJP.
The Congress leadership has blamed the BJP for the desertions from its ranks in both the States. In Bengaluru, as the stage is set for a major political showdown starting today in the wake of a spate of resignations threatening the existence of the coalition government in Karnataka, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Alok Kumar has issued prohibitory orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, restricting the gathering of more than five persons and any form of protests within the two-km area around the Vidhana Soudha.
The police Commissioner issued the orders on Wednesday night, taking into account intelligence inputs.
The prohibitory orders came into effect today when Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is scheduled to chair a cabinet meeting in the backdrop of 16 MLAs, including Housing Minister M T B Nagaraj, resigning and two Independent legislators — R Shankar and H Nagesh — withdrawing support to the Congress-JD(S) coalition government on Wednesday.
Speaker Ramesh Kumar is yet to accept the resignations of the MLAs. Kumar has said he has to first hear the legislators. He has also pointed out that of the 16 resignations of the MLAs, only five were in the proper format.
The developments surfaced well ahead of the Assembly session starting Friday. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked Kumaraswamy to step down, claiming that his government has lost the majority.
The party has also urged the Governor to step in following the crisis.
“We have petitioned the governor seeking his intervention. We may even move a no-confidence motion against the government. We will urge the governor to direct the government to prove its majority,” BJP MLC and party spokesperson N Ravikumar said.
With inputs from PTI.