Karnataka Speaker disqualifies 14 rebel MLAs

Bengaluru: In a major development, Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar today disqualified 14 rebel Congress-JDS legislators, who had earlier resigned from the Assembly, a day ahead of the trust vote scheduled to be held on Monday.

The announcement was made a day after BJP leader BS Yediyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka for a fourth time on Friday.

“13 MLAs (Congress-JDS MLAs) have been disqualified,” the Karnataka Speaker said while addressing a press conference in Bengaluru. Minutes later, it was reported that another rebel Congress MLA Shrimant Patil has also been disqualified.

A total of 14 MLAs including Pratap G Patil, BC Patil, S Hebbar, ST Someshekhar, B Basvraj, Anand Singh, R Roshan Baig, Muniratna, K Sudhakar, M TB Nagraj, Srimanth Patil from Congress. JD(S) MLAs which have been disqualified are AH Vishwanath, K Gopalaiah and Narayana Gowda.

The Speaker also rejected the four weeks time sought by the rebel MLAs. Talking about the toll which the Karnataka constitutional crisis has taken on him, the Speaker said, “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.”

Speaking on his resignation, Ramesh Kumar said,”I carried a resignation letter on 23 July because I wanted to resign if the matter dragged on on that day because I did not want to carry that burden.”

The Speaker further said that the newly-appointed Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has asked him to oversee vote of confidence on Monday.

“BS Yediyurappa has asked me to oversee vote of confidence tomorrow (Monday). The Finance bill is set to lapse on 31 July. I appeal to all MLAs to appear for the session for the confidence motion,” he added.

He also said that on the advice of the Chief Minister, he has directed the Secretariat to convene a session on Monday at 11 am. Post disqualification of 14 MLAs, the total strength of the Karnataka assembly is now 208, including the Speaker and nominated member.

On 27 July, Yediyurappa took oath as Chief Minister of the state. Yediyurappa took the oath succeeding HD Kumaraswamy, three days after the Congress-JDS coalition government crumbled. Meanwhile, Section 144 will remain imposed near the Vidhana Soudha from 6 AM on Monday till midnight on 30 July.