The crucial assembly proceedings that are expected to decide the fate of the 14-month old Congress-Janata Dal-Secular coalition ministry began with Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar appealing to the government to honour its commitment the confidence motion would be completed on Monday itself.
IMAGE: Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy speaks during the assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru. Photograph: Shailendra Bhojak/PTI Photo
As the House resumed its sitting an hour late, the Speaker made it clear, “The debate should start now. Everybody is watching us. Please don’t make me a scapegoat. Let us reach our goal,” stressing that the process should reach finality on Monday.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had moved the confidence motion on Thursday to decide the fate of the Congress-JD-S government wracked by rebellion by a section of
its MLAs threatening its survival.
The debate on the confidence motion prolonged to Friday, with the ruling coalition defying the two deadlines set by Governor Vajubhai Vala — to complete the process by 1.30 pm on Friday and later by the end of the day.
The proceedings were adjourned till Monday after the Speaker extracted a commitment from the government that the process would be completed by Monday itself.
“It will not bring respect to the House or to me,” the Speaker made his position clear, implying that the trust vote should not be delayed further.
“We are in public life. People are watching. In the name of discussion, if an opinion is created that we are wasting time, it won’t be right on my part or anybody else’s,”
The Speaker also gave a ruling that a Legislature Party leader has the right to issue a whip.
“Issuing whip is your right. Following them is left to the MLAs. If any complaint comes to me, I will follow rules and take a decision,” Kumar told Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah who had raised a point of order on the issue of whip in the light of the Supreme Court order last week.
When the confidence motion was moved on Thursday last, Siddaramaiah had pressed for deferring it till the assembly speaker decided on the issue of whip in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict on the political crisis in the state.
Siddaramaiah had said that the 15 ruling coalition rebel MLAs were influenced by the apex court order that they can abstain from attending the assembly proceedings and asked the Speaker to give a ruling on the fate of whip issued by him as CLP leader.
“If this motion is taken up, then it will not be constitutional. It violates the constitutional provisions. I request you to defer it. I want your ruling on this point of
order,” Siddaramaiah had told the Speaker.
In his ruling on Monday, the Speaker also made it clear that “no right of the Speaker has been infringed upon by the court”.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Jagadish Shettar and Madhuswamy told the Speaker the business on confidence motion should be completed on Monday itself and the debate should not be dragged on endlessly.