Must make sure if MLA’s resignations are genuine or voluntary: Speaker

Bengaluru: “The MLAs had come, they said they want to resign, I said they can give…they asked me to accept it. It cannot be like that I will have to see whether it is genuine or voluntary and be convinced,” said Karnataka Assembly speaker K R Ramesh Kumar yesterday, even as the State was reeling under political crisis.

The speaker said although almost all the MLAs resignations were in proper format, he was under no obligation to act in haste. He further said he will abide by the rules and take a just decision over the matter. “I emphasise I am not under anybody’s obligation. My obligation is to the aspirations of the people of the state and the parliamentary democracy,” he added. He also refuted allegations that he declined to meet any legislator.

Ten Karnataka dissenting MLAs met the Speaker to submit the resignations and later flew back to Mumbai, where they were camping.

Following this, JDS disqualified dissenting MLAs A H Vishwanath, K Gopalaiah and Narayana Gowda, but the speaker said he cannot take cognisance of the JD(S)s petition to disqualify the legislators as it was not filed in the proper format. Kumar said the petition by JD(S) leader Ramesh Babu seeking the disqualification was set aside as he had no locus standi because he was neither leader of their legislative party nor member of the assembly.

Reacting to Supreme Court’s directive to take a decision quickly, Kumar said he has written to the apex court that he was unable to a take a decision in a haste because the constitution has laid down certain procedures and I have given them time. ”

Kumar further said he had videographed the entire proceeding and that would be sending the video to the Supreme Court registrar.” He also said he was disappointed because the rebel MLAs approached the governor and then the Supreme Court to speed up accepting the resignation. The elected members need not have to seek Supreme Court’s permission to meet me.”

Kumar also insisted that he was neither responsible for the current political situation nor its outcome. Police had made tight security arrangements at the Vidhana Soudha, and created a ‘zero traffic corridor’ to enable the MLAs reach the Speaker’s office well on time.

Meanwhile, Union minister Pralhad Joshi said to end the constitutional crisis, the Speaker must take a decision at the earliest.” Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao Thursday appeared before the Speaker in connection with the petition they had moved recently seeking disqualification of rebel party MLAs. The party, however, did not move any petition against seven time MLA Ramalinga Reddy,and said he was an “exception.”

The Karnataka Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the 225-member Assembly is 113. Before the latest spate of resignations, the Congress had 78 MLAs, the JD(S)-37 and the BJP-105.
The Congress-JD(S) coalition effectively had the support of 119 MLAs in an Assembly. If the 16 MLAs resignations are accepted, the coalition’s tally will be reduced to 100.

NT Bureau