Bangalore: Karnataka legislative assembly speaker K.G. Bopaiah reversed course and accepted the resignations of all 13 supporters of former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa following a protest by them.
The speaker, who initially refused to accept the resignations of 12 of the 13 members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), announced late Tuesday evening that he had done so.
For the BJP, the acceptance of the resignations decreases the margin of its lead over the opposition in the house. More such resignations or defections could derail the presentation of the state budget, which is crucial in light of the upcoming elections scheduled to be held by May this year.
On Tuesday morning, the speaker refused to accept the resignations of 12 Yeddyurappa supporters. Bopaiah said his office had received a complaint from the BJP seeking their suspension on account of anti-party activities. “I will consult with the Lok Sabha speaker on the suspension and then take a decision,” Bopaiah had said at the time. He added that the resignation of a 13th MLA, Thippeswamy (who goes by one name), had been accepted as no complaint was received against him.
On learning this, the 12 MLAs staged a protest at the speaker’s office demanding that he act immediately on their resignations. Former energy minister Shobha Karandlaje said the speaker’s refusal to accept the resignations was a violation of the constitution and a blatant effort at supporting the government. “We will not leave unless he accepts them,” she said.
On Monday, two BJP MLAs complained to the speaker’s office and the chairman of the legislative council seeking the suspension of 12 MLAs and five members of the legislative council (MLCs) for anti-party activities.
Last week, all 13 MLAs, including two cabinet ministers, were turned away from the speaker’s office as he wasn’t available in Bangalore to accept their resignations. The 13 legislators, who announced that they were joining Yeddyurappa’s newly formed Karnataka Janata Party, alleged that the speaker was working in collusion with the BJP to allow the party to present the state budget.
For the BJP, the resignation of 13 legislators puts it slightly above the halfway mark in a 225-member assembly with two vacancies; it’s also counting on the support of one independent member. The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have 71 and 26 members, respectively. Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP recently to form the Karnataka Janata Party, has said that he doesn’t want to see the government collapse. Yeddyurappa was forced to step down from the chief minister’s post following charges of corruption.