In a major embarrassment for the ruling Congress in Karnataka, its no-confidence motion against Legislative Council Chairman D.H. Shankara Murthy of the BJP was defeated by one vote on Thursday. Thirty-six lawmakers voted in support while 37 opposed the motion, which was moved by Congress member V.S. Ugrappa. Council Deputy Chairman Marithibbe Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular put the motion to vote in the 75-member council, where the Congress has 33 members, BJP 23, JD-S 13, and the Independents are five. The BJP members include the Council Chairman. At present one seat is vacant in the upper house of the state legislature. “The Congress leaders did not take JD-S leaders into confidence before deciding to move the no-confidence motion against Murthy. So, we decided to vote against it,” JD-S Karnataka unit President H.D. Kumaraswamy told reporters here. Congress’s Karnataka unit chief G. Parameshwara had met JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda on Tuesday evening to seek his party’s support for the motion but the former Prime Minister advised the Congress leader to discuss it with Kumaraswamy. “No Congress leader consulted me till today (Thursday) morning. Congress leaders offered through the media the chairman’s post to the JD-S in lieu of support but did not convey it to me,” Kumaraswamy said.
He accused the Congress of attempting to divide the JD-S by creating confusion on the issue. “It has become a habit for national political parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, to use JD-S for their vested interests,” Kumaraswamy, son of JD-S supremo Deve Gowda, said.