Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar’s tough ruling on disqualification of three Congress rebel MLAs till the end of the 15th Legislative Assembly’s tenure appears to have made the Bharatiya Janata Party central leadership, which was weighing in its options, to take a final decision on the formation of the party government in Karnataka.
The decision was communicated to the party unit at a meeting of the State BJP delegation, led by the former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, with party national president Amit Shah in the wee hours of Friday. “I got a call from the BJP national president at 8 a.m. asking me to stake claim and take charge as Chief Minister by evening itself,” B.S. Yediyurappa told party workers on Friday evening.
Mood of rebels
“The disqualification of three MLAs had an impact on the other rebels, even as attempts by Congress and JD(S) leaders to woo them back turned aggressive. We had to retain the rebels in our fold, failing which, all hard work would come to a naught,” a senior BJP strategist said.
The rebel MLAs reportedly got pensive that the Speaker would disqualify them as well for the remainder of the term of the Assembly and expressed their concerns with the BJP leadership. This hastened the process of government formation, sources said.
The central leadership, seemingly convinced that there was no point in postponing the formation of the government, decided to ask the State unit to go ahead and also seek a trust vote at the earliest as it was seen as the best way to wriggle out of the crisis, party sources said.
“We know that it is not going to be a smooth sailing. But we have decided to reply in the same coin to the rival political camp through a legal battle and strategy. This will mean that tough legal strategies will have to be evolved by us,” a prominent BJP leader said. At the same time, the BJP leader maintained that there was no fear of failure as the party had readied itself to tackle any further moves of the coalition partners.
Finance Bill factor
Passage of the Finance Bill in the Assembly by the end of month, failing which imposition of the President’s rule would be necessary, was also a factor in the decision, sources said. Mr. Yediyurappa has announced that he would seek a trust vote in the Assembly on Monday and would get the Finance Bill passed on the same day after he wins the trust vote.
Meanwhile, BJP sources said the party would most likely move a no-confidence motion against Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar to pre-empt him from deciding on the disqualification petitions of the remaining 13 rebel MLAs.