Karnataka rebel MLAs say they we will not attend Assembly

Supreme Court

Bengaluru: Hailing the Supreme Court direction on the Karnataka political crisis, rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs camping in Mumbai today said there was no question of going back on their resignations from the Assembly or attending the session.

“We are happy with the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court, we honour it,” rebel Congress MLA B C Patil said in a video released to the media, a day ahead of the trial of strength in the Karnataka Assembly.

Flanked by 11 other Congress-JD(S) MLAs who have quit, he said, “We all are together and whatever decision we have taken… at any cost no question of going back (on resignations). We stand by our decision. No question of going to Assembly.”

SC RULING

The Supreme Court directed today that the 15 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs “ought not” to be compelled to take part in the proceedings of the Karnataka Assembly, which is slated to decide the confidence motion moved by the H D Kumaraswamy-led State government Thursday.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi further said Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar was free to decide on the resignations of the rebel legislators within such time-frame as deemed appropriate by him. The court also said the Speaker’s decision be put before it.

The bench, comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, said the Speaker’s discretion in deciding the resignation issue of the MLAs should not be fettered by the court’s directions or observations and he should be free to decide the issue.

The bench, while pronouncing the order, said it was necessary to maintain the constitutional balance in the matter. The court said other issues raised in the matter would be decided at a later stage.

BACKSTAGE MOVES

Reports from Bengaluru said last-minute efforts are being made by the Congress-JD(S) and BJP camps to get necessary support of MLAs.

On Tuesday, State BJP president Yeddyurappa was seen in a relaxed mood playing cricket with party legislators camping at a resort on the outskirts of the city.

Yeddyurappa, who had been busy with hectic meetings with senior party colleagues and legislators strategising as the wobbly coalition government headed by Chief Minister Kumaraswamy is on the brink of collapse, Tuesday spent most part of the day at a resort near Yelahanka.

Later in the day, BJPs State unit media cell released a photo of Yeddyurappa playing cricket with party MLAs Renukacharya and S R Vishwanath, among others. He was seen batting.

After over a week-long heightened political activity in Bengaluru, it was relatively a calm on Tuesday with the focus shifting to the Supreme Court.

As many as 16 MLAs — 13 from the Congress and three from JD(S) — have resigned while two independent MLAs S Shankar and H Nagesh have withdrawn their support to the coalition government, keeping it on the edge.

In a bid to keep their flock together ahead of the floor test, the Congress, BJP and JD(S) have shifted their MLAs to resorts.

The Congress Tuesday shifted its MLAs from a hotel in Bengaluru to a resort on the outskirts, amid fears that some more legislators may resign.