In a surprise move amid the existential crisis faced by his government, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday announced he would seek a trust vote to end the 'confusion' caused by resignations of rebel MLAs while asserting he was 'ready for everything'.
Making the announcement in the state assembly, Kumaraswamy said he has 'voluntarily' decided to seek the vote, adding only when he commanded the support in the House he can continue as the CM.
Asserting that he did not come to the chief minister's position with the intention of remaining in power for ever, the Janata Dal-Secular leader requested Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to fix a time for moving the confidence vote.
Later, Kumaraswamy at the business advisory committee meeting proposed Wednesday for the trust vote. However, no decision was taken as the principal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party did not attend the meeting, sources said.
A decision was likely to be taken on Monday, they added.
Kumaraswamy's announcement in the assembly came as the Supreme Court, hearing a petition by 10 of the 16 rebel MLAs, restrained the Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar from taking any decision till next Tuesday on the resignation and disqualification of the legislators.
The 10 rebel MLAs Thursday submitted afresh their resignation letters in person to the Speaker as directed by the apex court
The assembly met Friday for a 11-day monsoon session in the backdrop of resignation of 16 ruling coalition MLAs that has raised questions over the government's survival.
Kumaraswamy took the floor during obituary references time and announced his decision.
In today's political situation in the state, due to decision of some MLAs there is a confusing situation that all the legislators are witnessing... I did not come to this position with an intention that I will remain in power for ever. I'm ready for everything, Kumaraswamy said.
My request to you is as we will have to run the administration by taking various decisions through this House under your guidance, in my opinion, in the backdrop of the incidences that have happened.
"I have decided to seek trust vote. I'm requesting you to fix a time for it at the earliest," he told the Speaker.
The chief minister, who has been asserting his government and the coalition would survive, said: "In today's situation it is inevitable for me to say this.
"Only when I have the support of this House, I can continue in this position. I'm not ready to misuse this position in any way. So voluntarily I have decided to seek trust vote," he added.
The coalition government, which has been shaky since it came into being last year after a post-poll arrangement in the wake of a hung verdict, is facing a serious crisis now with 16 MLAs -- 13 of the Congress and three of the JD-S -- resigning their assembly membership.
Besides, two independent legislators who were made ministers recently to provide stability to the government have quit the ministry and withdrawn support.
The sudden announcement by the chief minister during the obituary reference time came as a surprise.
According to sources, it was a voluntary decision by the chief minister and a very few within the coalition circle knew about it.
The opposition BJP took exception to the chief minister raising the matter during obituary reference.
State BJP President B S Yeddyurappa later told reporters that his party would decide its strategy on the basis of Kumaraswamy's speech on the proposed trust vote.
"As a Chief Minister, he has made a statement, how can I say no to it. It is left to him. We will decide on the basis of what the Chief Minister speaks when he seeks the trust vote," the BJP veteran said.
Though Kumaraswamy wanted the Speaker to fix a time for the vote, the latter said as and when the chief minister informed him about the date on which he would move the confidence motion it will be mentioned in the list of business.
He (CM) will have to tell me. The chief minister has spoken his mind that there is confusing situation and he will not stick to power. If he tells me when he will move a motion seeking trust vote, I will put it for business the next day, the Speaker said.
Stating that he expected the chief minister to seek the vote of confidence at the earliest, Ramesh Kumar said he cannot ask him to move it on a specific day.
Kumaraswamy was later seen in a relaxed mood in the assembly lobby and expressed confidence about the trust vote and getting numbers in favor of the coalition.
According to reports, Kumaraswamy is said to be in direct talks with at least four Congress legislators, who have resigned and is hopeful that they will withdraw.
Later talking to reporters, he said what ever issues are there we will see, on the floor of the House.
The ruling coalition's total strength is 116 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37 and BSP-1), besides the Speaker.
With the support of the two independents, the BJP has 107 MLAs in the 224-member House, where the half-way mark is 113.
If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the coalition's tally will be reduced to 100.
In a related development, the BJP, apparently fearing poaching of its MLAs by the ruling coalition leaders, has decided to shift its legislators to a resort on the outskirts
of the city.
"Every one (BJP MLAs) felt that they should be together and come together to the assembly on Monday... I have said okay," Yeddyurappa told reporters in response to a question.
On the Supreme Court order, he said it has come as a moral booster to the rebels and claimed even the whip issued (asking all ruling MLAs to attend the assembly session) will not be applicable for the ten.
"The MLAs in Mumbai had contacted our friends, they all are satisfied with the Supreme Court verdict," he said, adding the BJP would wait for the outcome of the next hearing on Tuesday.
Congress is also likely to shift its legislators to a hotel or resort and the final call would be taken shortly, top party sources said.
The rebel MLAs continued to remain in a hotel in Mumbai.