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K’taka Governor asks CM to prove his majority again

Bangalore: In a new turn to political developments in Karnataka, Governor H R Bhardwaj Tuesday offered one more chance to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove his majority in the Assembly on October 14.

Holding that the trust vote taken in the Assembly yesterday by the BJP government was “not in accordance with the law”, the Governor sent a letter to the Chief Minister today saying that he has not proved the majority. The BJP had yesterday won the trust vote by a voice vote.

Bhardwaj said that voice vote doesn’t mean anything when a clear division of vote was needed by the CM to prove his majority.

“The responsibility was on him as CM, to prove his objective majority on the floor of the House, but was not carried out. Consequently, upon my reading of the proceedings, I found that there were no figures corresponding to yes or no in the division of votes in the ruling of the Speaker,” he said.

Attacking Yedyyurappa, he added, “From day one, I have been busy dealing with corruption. Half of their cabinet is already facing corruption probe. I am fed up with this kind of corruption.”

“I have fully cooperated with him in all matters. I reject all grievances,” he said.

“I have now sent another letter. If you (CM) are prepared to meet your constitutional obligation, I am willing to give you another chance to prove majority by October 14, 11 am,” he said.

Reacting to the letter, Yeddyurappa – who is Delhi along with party MLAs, MPs and MLCs to meet the President-, said, “I am pained to know that his Excellency, the Governor of Karnataka, in his report to Centre has recommended President’s Rule.”

“Yesterday, despite serious provocation by the Opposition, I had proved the majority. Now I have learnt that he has once again asked me to prove majority by October 14. I will seek guidance from senior party leaders and talks to constitutional experts before deciding on the future course of action,” he said.

Importantly, the Karnataka High Court is expected to decide on the disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs by the Speaker ahead of the trust vote in the Assembly yesterday.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice J S Kehar and Justice N Kumar, specially constituted to hear the case, will take up the two petitions filed by the rebel MLAs; they are claiming that their disqualification amounts to abuse of power by Speaker KG Bopaih.

Amidst pandemonium yesterday, Bopaiah had declared that the confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister was carried by a voice vote.

Opposition parties, however, criticised the Speaker’s action saying there was no division of votes and claimed that there were more MLAs opposed to the government than those supporting it.

The Speaker, however, contended that no member pressed for a division.

Here in Delhi, Yeddyurappa in the battle to save his 28-month government is expected to meet President Pratibha Patil to protest against Governor HR Bhardwaj’s role in the entire episode.

The Governor had on October 10 written to the Speaker, asking him to conduct the trust vote on October 11, Monday, on the basis of the party positions as on October 6 – with the BJP at 116, the Congress at 73, the JD(S) at 28, Independents at six and the Speaker. Altering the character of the Assembly would vitiate the proceedings and “such vitiated proceedings will not be acceptable,” he observed.

After the trust vote on Monday, HR Bhardwaj, had, in a report to the Centre, described the vote as “a farce” and recommended President’s rule.

The Centre is for the moment is adopting a wait-and-watch policy and would probably decide on the Governor’s recommendation on President Rule in the state after the High Court decides on the matter.

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