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Will Karnataka speaker play truant in government formation?
Vicky Nanjappa in New Delhi | November 03, 2007 13:32 IST
Will the speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly play truant in the formation of the Janata Dal-Secular-Bharatiya Janata Party government in Karnataka?
While all eyes are on Rashtrapathi Bhavan and Raj Bhavan, it would be interesting to see what the speaker in the Karnataka House will do on a petition seeking disqualification of H D Kumaraswamy and 39 other JD-S legislators.
When Kumaraswamy had formed the government with the BJP 21 months back a petition was filed before the speaker seeking disqualification of 40 JD-S MLAs including H D Kumaraswamy.
The petition was based on the letter written by JD-S party supremo H D Deve Gowda to the then governor T N Chathurvedi.
Gowda in his letter had stated that the MLAs including his son did not have the consent of the party while entering into an alliance with the BJP and since they had disobeyed the party whip, they ought to be disqualified.
However, nothing really happened on the petition before the speaker and Kumaraswamy completed 20 months as the chief minister of Karnataka.
The issue has returned and also gained momentum after the JD-S decided to support the BJP to form the government.
H D Deve Gowda has been summoned by the speaker as a witness and he would have to depose on November 17.
He would have to explain the circumstance under which he had written the letter to the governor seeking disqualification of the MLAs.
Even here, Gowda holds the key. In case he stands by the letter written 21 months back, then it would mean that the MLAs did not enjoy the support of the party and had violated the party whip.
The application to summon Gowda as a witness was filed by H D Kumaraswamy.
Meanwhile, another application has been filed by Vatal Nagaraj of the Vatal Party seeking to summon M P Prakash as a witness while deciding the case.
Several senior leaders and legal experts feel that it would be better to await the speaker's decision in the case and only then go ahead with the formation of the government.
If the speaker rejects the petition, then there would be no hitch for the formation of the formation of the government.
A problem would arise if the petition was upheld as it would mean 40 MLAs would be disqualified.
If this happens, then the JD-S will have just 16 MLAs on the floor of the House, which is not sufficient to form a government with the BJP, which has 79 MLAs.
In Karnataka, a minimum of 113 seats is required to form the government.
The Karnataka Assembly, which at present has been placed under suspended animation, has 226 seats.