Bengaluru: The Karnataka Assembly, which took up the trust vote moved by chief minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday (July 18), was adjourned until Friday morning after a day of high drama, which involved 20 legislators of the ruling coalition not turning up in the House. These 20 MLAs included the 12 currently staying at a hotel in Mumbai.

Governor Vajubhai Vala’s advice to Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar to complete the trust vote process by Thursday evening went unheeded as deputy Speaker Krishna Reddy adjourned the Assembly for the day amid incessant slogan-shouting by Congress legislators.

VR Vala sent another letter setting the deadline of 1:30 pm on Friday for HD Kumaraswamy to prove the majority of his government in the assembly.

“The proceedings of the House on 18-07-2019 for vote of confidence has been stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality. This cannot go on in a democratic set up governed by the Constitution of India,” Vala wrote to the CM, with a copy to the Speaker. In the earlier note to the Speaker, Vala said a CM “is expected to maintain confidence of the house at all times during his tenure.” 

Congress-JD(S) government had questioned how the Governor could be the deciding authority when the Speaker was present in the Assembly.

While Kumaraswamy is yet to speak on the motion, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa said all his party legislators would stay at the Assembly until the trust vote was decided.

And hence, armed with fluffy pillows and crisp blankets, BJP lawmakers dressed in their night clothes camped inside the Vidhana Soudha.

He said this was to protest the “breach of the constitutional framework” as ruling coalition legislators did not allow a proper discussion on the trust vote even for 15 minutes.

Deputy CM G Parameshwara also stated that he had visited the sleeping BJP lawmakers and enquired about their comfort. 

“It is our responsibility to take care of them. I enquired if they ate well and if the food was good, and if they had a goodnight’s sleep. We had even stationed an ambulance here for them,” stated Parameshwara.

Sources said that BJP leaders have also decided to approach the Supreme Court, accusing the Congress-JDS combine of trying to delay the debate and vote on the confidence motion by raising a Point of Order on the SC direction.

BJP leaders were left in the lurch when ruling members raised too many constitutional issues which they felt would drag the House into another direction.

Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah pressed for deferring the confidence motion until the Speaker decided on the issue of whip in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict.

The Speaker said he would consult the advocate general and adjourned the House for lunch. While the House discussed the issue of the whip, a BJP delegation met the governor to direct the Speaker to conclude the trust vote process on Thursday itself, which he subsequently did.

Congress MLA Shreemant Patil remained absent from the House amid reports he had been admitted to a Mumbai hospital. Senior minister DK Shivakumar said the Congress would produce documents to show that Patil was forcibly admitted to the hospital to skip the Assembly.

Bahujan Samaj Party MLA N Mahesh, who was likely to support the coalition, also did not show up. Sources said Mahesh was yet to get any instruction from party chief Mayawati.

 The chances of the survival of the government looked slim. The BJP has 104 MLAs, and support of three more, including a nominated member and two independents in the 225-member Assembly. If the resignations of the 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and three from the JDS) are accepted, or they do not turn up, the ruling coalition's tally will reduce to 101, (excluding the Speaker), reducing the 14 month-old Kumaraswamy government to a minority.