The trust vote to decide the fate of the wobbly 14-month-old JD(S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka did not take place on Thursday, 18 July, as the Assembly was adjourned after a heated exchanged between the ruling parties and the Opposition BJP.
With this, Karnataka BJP, led by Party President BS Yeddyurappa, announced that its leaders will be camping in the state Assembly – demanding the Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to conduct the trust vote proceedings at the earliest.
Their biggest argument is the fact that a letter sent by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, asking the Speaker to complete the proceeding by the end of the day, was ignored by KR Ramesh Kumar.
However, the letter from the Governor was not enough of a reason for the Speaker to oblige since it was only a ‘request’ to be considered.
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But by night, the Governor sent another letter, this time demanding the Chief Minister to conduct the floor test by 1:30 pm on Friday – making the crisis in Karnataka a battle between the coalition and the Governor.
The First Letter
In the message to Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar on Thursday evening, Vala said:
“The motion of confidence moved by the CM is in consideration before the House today. The chief minister is expected to maintain the confidence of the House at all times during his tenure. I, therefore, send this message to the House to consider completing the proceedings of the House by the end of the day.”
Soon after reading out the letter, Speaker Ramesh Kumar clarified that the Governor has not directed but only conveyed that he “desired” the trust vote be completed by the end of the day. Even in the letter, the Governor used the word “consider” for completing proceedings the house.
Congress leader HK Patil also raised this argument soon after the Governor’s letter was read out.
“The governor shall not interfere in the proceedings of this house. We've seen that the Governor's representative is present here, we welcome the person, but we should have come to know of this,” he said.
The Second Letter
However, in the second letter, this time to Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, the Governor used stronger terms, demanding the floor test to be completed by 1:30 pm on Friday.
“In my capacity as the Head of the State, I had not intervened in the matter having regard to that the House was called and trust vote was moved. However, it has been reported to me that the proceedings of the house for vote of confidence has been stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching finality. This cannot go on in a democratic set up governed by the Constitution of India,” he wrote in the letter.
He further added:
“Though message as contemplated under section 175 (2) is sent to the Speaker, I am informed that the house is adjourned today… under these circumstances, I require you to prove your majority on the floor of the house on or before 1:30 pm tomorrow (Friday).
While the Congress and JD(S) were quick to oppose the first letter, so far no response has come from the coalition camp regarding the second one.
The coalition government, which opposed the Governor’s first letter, is expected to go against the second letter when the session begins on Friday morning.