JDS-Congress coalition loses trust vote; Kumaraswamy govt falls

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s 14-month-old government ended yesterday after the Congress-JDS coalition failed in the confidence vote, ending a 3-week-long tussle struggle for power.

After four days of debating, the CM’s confidence motion saw defeat as 99 members voting for and 105 against it. Following the voting, Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar said, “The motion moved by the Chief Minister has fallen through.”

After rebel MLAs gave in their resignation, the coalition government was hanging by a thread. The row intensified after Supreme Court issued a verdict saying that rebel legislators cannot be compelled to attend the Assembly session.

Twenty one MLAsCongress-JDS (17), BSP (1), Independents (2) skipped the Assembly proceedings and this reduced the effective strength of the House to 204.

Kumaraswamy lashed out at the BJP for trying to topple his government. Snswering to questions why he had not resigned, he said that when the 2018 assembly polls results were out, he had plans to quit politics as his political entry was all of a sudden and unexpected.

He said that the first bomb will explode when the BJP forms ministry and the rule would not last long and it is better to go for elections if it collapses.

He further asserted that his government has committed any wrong and tried to create history and worked honestly to provide people friendly government.

He further accused the BJP of being in a hurry. In his speech, he said, “I am not going to run away after speech. Let the people of the state know why I was removed. I am not going to run away fearing numbers. Let the votes be counted. Chief Minister’s seat is not permanent to anyone.”

The ruling coalition made all efforts to win back the rebel MLAs. Kumaraswamy appealed to them on Sunday to attend the session in order to save his ministry but in vain.

16 MLAs (13 from the Congress and three from JDS) resigned. Independent MLAs R Shankar and H Nagesh had withdrawn their support to the government. One Congress member Ramalinga Reddy retracted from his decision to resign, saying he would support the government. Before the enmasse resignations, the ruling combine’s strength was 117– Congress 78, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, and nominated 1, besides the Speaker.

Congress leader Siddaramaiah accused the BJP of trying to come to power through backdoor using bribery and whosesale trading of 15 MLAs by offering them Rs 20, 25 and 30 crores.

Meanwhile, BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa said that it was a victory for democracy and that people were fed up with the coalition rule. He assured the people of Karnataka that “an era of development” would start with BJP in power. On the next step, Yeddyurappa said an appropriate decision would be taken “as early as possible.”

NT Bureau