BENGALURU/MUMBAI: Karnataka's Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government, on the verge of losing its majority after 14 exits, won a breather on Tuesday as Speaker Ramesh Kumar decided that the resignations were not in order. None of the lawmakers had met him, Mr Kumar told the Governor in a letter. While this buys the ruling coalition a little more time, more exits may be inevitable. A dozen Congress lawmakers skipped a meeting today despite compulsory attendance. Three of them called in sick.
The Speaker, who was not in office when 13 rebel Congress and JDS lawmakers submitted their resignations on Saturday, said he would act according to the constitution. "The MLAs have not given letters as per law, so they have to come again and give me. Out of 13 resignations, eight are not in order," he said.
If the resignations stand the Speaker's scrutiny, the Congress-JDS coalition's 118 members in the 224-seat state assembly will come down to 102 and the majority mark will drop from 113 to 105. The BJP has 105 members and the support of the two Independents, which takes its tally to 107.
Congress leader Siddaramaiah warned of action against the dissident lawmakers. He said he had asked the Speaker to not only disqualify them but also ban them from contesting polls for six years. This morning, 12 lawmakers skipped his meeting, alarming the party. Three of them called in sick.
The dissident lawmakers who resigned, both from the Congress and JDS, moved out of a luxury hotel in Mumbai as their parties desperately reached out to them, and are at another unknown location in the city. The rebels were shifted out of the Sofitel in Mumbai after Youth Congress workers protested outside the hotel.