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Karnataka Assembly awaits SC order for floor test

Bengaluru, July 22 : The crucial floor test for deciding the fate of the JD-S-Congress coalition government in Karnataka would be conducted after the Supreme Court (SC) order on two joint petitions before its three-judge bench, an official said on Monday.

"Though the debate on the confidence motion Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy moved on July 18 will resume at 11 a.m., as many members of the ruling allies want to speak, the Speaker (K.R. Ramesh Kumar) will wait for completing it (debate) and the apex court order," a legislative official told IANS here.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will hear the joint petitions the Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) filed on July 19, challenging its July 17 interim order that their 15 rebel legislators who resigned would not be compelled to attend the Assembly for the floor test although it defies their whip and hence disqualify them under the anti-defection law (10th Schedule of the Constitution).

The Speaker will also wait for the top court's order on the joint petition two Independents R. Shankar and H. Nagesh filed on Sunday for its directive to hold the floor test by 5 p.m. on Monday to avoid further delay.

With the 15 rebels, including 12 of the Congress and 3 of the JD-S deciding not to attend the session and two Congress legislators (B. Nagendra and Srimant Patil) being in a Bengaluru and Mumbai private hospitals, the strength of the allies will be 99 (65 out of 79 of Congress plus 34 out of 37 of JD-S), including the Speaker (from Congress) in the 225-member Assembly.

With the two Independents supporting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has 105 legislators, 107 votes will be against the motion in the division of votes vis-A-vis 100 of the ruling combine, including one from its ally Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), whose member N. Mahesh was absent from the Assembly on July 18-19 when the debate on the trust vote took place.

"As the voting takes place on the basis of the members present in the House, with only 100 members on his side, Kumaraswamy will inevitably face defeat when the motion will be put to vote, as the new halfway mark will be 105 out of 208 (225-17)," BJP spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS here.

The BJP is hoping both the Independents will be present in the Assembly for the floor test though they were absent on July 17-18 when the debate was taken up on the confidence motion.

Since the Chief Minister moved the motion, the onus is on him and his ruling allies to prove majority. Though BSP chief Mayawati directed Mahesh to vote in favour, he told reporters on Sunday in his home constituency (Kollagal) that he would remain neutral by abstaining from the House, as he did on July 17-18 for the debate on it.

"We think Kumaraswamy will go to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to the Governor (Vajubhai Vala) than suffer a humiliating defeat by asking the Speaker to conduct the floor test when the numbers are stacked against him and his warring allies," asserted Madhusudan.

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Karnataka Assembly awaits SC order for floor test


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