As the Supreme Court is set to hear the petition of 10 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs over their resignations on Friday, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy tweeted that he is “confident” despite “efforts to destabilise” his government.
“Congress-JDS coalition in the state is going strong despite the efforts to destabilize. We are confident and prepared for a smooth and fruitful conduct of legislative sessions,” Kumaraswamy tweeted late on Thursday night, hours after he ruled out his resignation.
The political drama took a new turn on Thursday as Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar showed no interest in taking an urgent decision on the resignation of the 16 MLAs of the ruling coalition government.
Kumar, who met 13 rebel Congress MLAs after the Supreme Court asked him to do so in the morning, made it clear that he was not rushing into accepting the resignations as he wanted to be “satisfied” which would require detailed scrutiny.
The Supreme Court order came after the rebel lawmakers accused the Speaker of abandoning his constitutional duty and deliberately delaying acceptance of their resignations. On Tuesday, Speaker Ramesh Kumar had dismissed resignations of eight of the 13 lawmakers as “faulty”. He said the resignations were not done in the correct format as per the guidelines of the Karnataka Assembly Act.
Earlier on Thursday, the Speaker told the apex court that he might be able to meet the lawmakers as per the court order but may not be able to spell out his decision today.
The Speaker argued that his constitutional duties and Assembly rules mandated him to verify whether the resignations tendered by the MLAs were voluntary or forced.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused urgent hearing on the matter but allowed the Speaker’s application to be filed and indicated that the matter will be taken up for hearing along with the petition of 10 rebel MLAs on Friday morning.
Speaker’s counsel senior advocate AM Singhvi and Devadatt Kamat contended before the court that the Speaker was constitutionally bound to first take up the disqualification proceedings first.
“In the whole episode, my job is not to save or remove people,” he said, adding that he was acting in accordance with the Constitution. “Should I have worked at lightning speed? For whose sake? What about the rules, the people? I only abide by the Constitution,” he said after the MLAs met him.
As the Karnataka coalition government is teetering on the brink of collapse with 18 lawmakers submitting their resignations, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday rejected the opposition BJP’s demand for him to quit as his coalition government has been reduced to “minority”.
Till Wednesday, 13 Congress, 3 JD(S) and two independent MLAs have submitted their resignations to the Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar.
The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition faces the threat of losing its majority in the Assembly if the resignations are accepted as its current tally is 116 (Congress 78, JD(S) 37 and BSP one), besides the Speaker in the 224 member House.