Karnataka crisis: Rebel MLAs ignore BJP deadline, Governor s
Bangalore: A day ahead of the Karnataka floor test, there is a new and serious point of conflict in the ongoing Karnataka political drama. The Governor and the Speaker traded letters and charges after Governor HR Bharadwaj stepped in to indicate the Speaker, KG Bopaiah, should not disqualify the rebel MLAs in order to maintain the character and configuration of the House.
"Any attempt to change the character/configuration of the House in the run up to the vote of confidence motion is bound to vitiate the proceedings. Any result obtained by such vitiated proceedings will not be acceptable," said the Governor in a letter to the Speaker.
The Speaker shot back by saying, "I am dismayed at the tone and content of the letter received today from you which tantamounts to serious interference with discharge of my function as the Speaker. I can assure you I will maintain absolute impartiality without any dictation from any authority about the discharge of judicial function as constitutional authority."
"I humbly request you to maintain impartiality in the dispute between the rival political parties and uphold the high traditions of the office of the Governor," Bopaiah added.
But the Speaker did reserve his order, and by reserving orders on whether or not to disqualify the rebel MLAs, the Speaker has kept every party guessing in the already bizarre Karnataka drama.
This is certainly not the first time the Governor has taken on the state government - which has earlier described him as an agent of the Congress.
BJP MLA and former Speaker of Karnataka assembly, Jagdish Shettar, also said that the Governor is interfering in the role of the Speaker.
"The Speaker is a constitutional authority and he exercises judicial function whether to suspend the MLAs or to disqualify them. Now if there is anything in that letter that suggests what he should do or should not do, or whether his decision is acceptable or not, I think that would amount to interference with the exercise of judicial function," said Soli Sorabjee, former Solicitor General.
The Speaker had given the rebels a deadline of 5 pm on Sunday to answer the notice he had issued to them. They ignored that deadline and stayed in Chennai where they met once again with JD (S) leader Kumaraswamy.
"I have full confidence this time that Yeddyurappa's cabinet cannot win by money or with misusing the government machinery. These MLAs want to teach a lesson to them. We have full confidence that tomorrow's confidence vote will be defeated by a majority number," said Kumaraswamy.
The rebel MLA's are not taking chances, they are staying behind in Chennai before the crucial day on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Congress MLAs - who were being safeguarded in a Maharashtra resort made their way back to Bangalore.
"The first priority is to see that the government falls, then we will discuss other possible options," said DK Shivkumar, State Congress Working President.
With legal wrangling and allegations of horse-trading - the stage is set for a show down in the Karnataka Assembly.