The 10-day long political uncertainty in Karnataka will be put to rest today when the newly formed Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) government under HD Kumaraswamy’s leadership will seek a floor test, which he is widely expected to sail through smoothly. The Congress has 78 MLAs whereas JD(S)+ has 38 legislators in the 224-member Assembly. The current strength of the House is 222 in which the BJP has 104 MLAs. The Assembly will meet today for the first time after the formation of the new government on Wednesday. The House will first conduct an election to pick a new Speaker before the vote of confidence is tabled by the CM. While the Congress has nominated former speaker KR Ramesh Kumar for the Speaker’s role, the BJP has fielded its veteran leader S Suresh Kumar.
In order to prevent their MLAs from being poached by the BJP, the Congress and JD(S) have been keeping their MLAs together at different locations since May 16. The MLAs on Wednesday had, however, participated in the oath-taking ceremony of Kumaraswamy and his deputy G Parameshwara of the Congress at the Vidhan Soudha, but immediately returned to their respective resorts. The Indian Express reported that once Kumaraswamy clears the floor test, MLAs will return to their home constituencies and kick-start the works.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday in Bengaluru, Kumaraswamy expressed confidence about winning the trust vote. He said that the Congress and JD(S) coalition government has the majority in the new Assembly. “I am confident of winning the trust vote on the Assembly floor as we have the numbers in our favour,” he said.
Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy to face floor test today: Top development
1. The Congress and JD(S) had forged a post-pot alliance to keep the BJP out of power in the state. On May 15, the counting day, even before the final result was declared, the Congress party had announced to extend an unconditional support to the JD(S). This triggered a massive political slugfest with the BJP alleging that the mandate was against the Congress and JD(S) and that the single largest party should be given the chance to form the government.
2. On May 17, BJP strongman BS Yeddyurappa was administered the oath of CM’s office and secrecy by Governor Vajubhaii Vala but two days later, he had to vacate the chair after he failed to prove majority on the floor of the House. The same day, Vajubhai Vala invited the Congress-JD(S) coalition to form the government. The new government was sworn-in
3. Meanwhile, unfazed by the fall of its 3-day long government, the BJP on Thursday fielded its senior leader S Suresh Kumar for the post of the Speaker in the Legislative Assembly. He is an MLA from Rajajinagar constituency and enjoys a clean image when it comes to corruption. The BJP leader said that based on the strength of numbers and various other factors, “party leaders have confidence that I will win”.
4. Suresh Kumar has been pitted against Congress’ Ramesh Kumar. Ramesh is an MLA from Srinivaspur. He had previously served as the Speaker between 1994 and 1999. The election to elect new Speaker will be held at 12:15 pm.
5. On Thursday, Karnataka Deputy CM G Parameshwara dropped a bombshell on the JD(S) when he said that the party has taken no decision yet to support Kumaraswamy as CM for the full five-year-term, indicating the Congress may ask the JD(S) to vacate the CM’s chair in future.
6. The Congress is the second largest party in the current Assembly but it is playing a role of a junior partner in the coalition government. “We have not yet discussed those modalities,” Parameshwara told reporters in Bangaluru on Thursday. His remark assumes significance as ahead of his swearing-in, Kumaraswamy had dismissed reports about his party was working out a power-sharing formula of heading the government for 30 months each.
7. On Wednesday, Kumaraswamy took as the 25th Chief Minister of Karnataka in a ceremony that brought together leaders of opposition parties, exactly a year ahead of the general elections. The event showcased rare scenes of bonhomie between leaders including UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress national president Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy, CPI(M( general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI MP D Raja, RLD leader Ajit Singh, RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav and former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav.
8. In the 2013 polls, the Congress party had won 122 seats and formed the government under Siddaramaiah’s leadership. The BJP had emerged as the second largest party with 40 seats.