With a little help from Speaker, chief minister wins trust vote

Written by Political Bureau | Bangalore | Updated: Oct 12 2010, 05:54am hrs
Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa on Monday won a controversial confidence vote in the Assembly following disqualification of 16 MLAs, amid high drama in which police entered the House.

Soon after the vote was over, Governor HR Bhardwaj, who had written a letter to the Speaker asking him not to disqualify the 11 BJP MLAs who had rebelled against the BJP government and the five Independents, sent a report to the Centre recommending Presidents Rule. He said the vote in the Assembly was unconstitutional and a farce.

Speaker KG Bopaiahs decision to disqualify the MLAs and ban their entry into the House came early in the morning, and brought down the number required for the BJP to prove its majority.

Amid scenes of pandemonium, Yeddyurappa moved the confidence motion and the Speaker declared it passed by a voice vote with the BJP getting the support of 106. Charges and counter-charges were hurled from both sides, with the Opposition accusing the Speaker of acting as an agent of the BJP and the latter saying the Governor was acting as Leader of the Opposition.

Facing the prospect of its first government in the south being toppled, the BJP said it would parade all its 105 MLAs before President Pratibha Patil in New Delhi tomorrow and seek rejection of imposition of Presidents Rule.

The 16 disqualified MLAs, meanwhile, have moved the Karnataka High Court, seeking quashing of Bopaiahs orders as a clear violation of statutory rules. The counsel for one of the rebel MLAs submitted that they had not withdrawn their memembership from the BJP but had only expressed lack of confidence in the Yeddyurappa government because of rampant corruption and nepotism. The high court will hear their plea on Tuesday.

Justifying his decision, the Speaker said that according to documents available with him, the Independents belonged to a particular political party, and that they should have remained Independent if they were not to attract the provisions of the anti-defection law. As the House plunged into further uproar, Bopaiah adjourned it sine die.