Karnataka: Kumaraswamy govt falls

The 14-month-old Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka fell after it was defeated on the floor of the Karnataka Assembly with about 20 MLAs of the ruling coalition defying their party whips and absenting from voting on the confidence motion moved by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

The political drama was triggered by the resignations of over a dozen rebel MLAs belonging to the coalition who submitted their papers at the Speaker’s office and left for Mumbai where they were holed up in a hotel.

Immediately after the trust vote, Kumaraswamy sought an appointment with Governor, Vajubhai Vala, and went to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation.

In the 224-member House, only 204 were present and voted in the division pressed by Leader of the Opposition Yeddyurappa after the voice vote. Yeddyurappa and other BJP members showed victory signs in the House while the ruling coalition members quietly walked out.

Senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy, who withdrew his resignation last week, voted with the government. Speaker Ramesh Kumar, who belongs to the Congress, said he would vote only in case of a tie.

The defeat marks the end of an uneasy coalition that was formed after the assembly polls in May 2018, which returned a hung verdict after three main parties in the state — Congress, BJP and the JD (S) — fought each other in the polls.

The voting on the trust motion started around 7.25 pm after four days of prolonged debate ignoring repeated directives of the Governor who set three deadlines for the completion of the business on Thursday and Friday, even as the battle over the resignation and disqualification of the dissident MLAs went on in the Supreme Court.

The division process was completed by a physical headcount of members who stood in their rows. 

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