Karnataka Trust Vote: Congress' Siddaramaiah alleges 'wholesale trade' of MLAs

Bengaluru (Karnataka): Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday accused the BJP government of attempting to topple the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition using bribery and "wholesale trade" of rebel MLAs.

Speaking in the proceeding in the Karnataka Assembly over the motion of confidence moved by chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah said, "This wholesale trade is a problem. If there is retail trade of one or two members then it's not a problem. The MLAs (rebel) who have gone have indulged in wholesale trade." "Rs 25 crore, 30 crore, 50 crore were offered, where is this money coming from?", Siddaramaiah questioned.

He further said that the rebel MLAs will be disqualified. "Their political 'samadhi' will be built. Whoever defected since 2013 lost. The same fate awaits those who have resigned this time. It should happen," the Congress leader said.

Siddharamaiah said that the Congress-JD(S) government was formed after high command's order and the combined share of both parties is 56.44 per cent, which is clearly a people's mandate.

"In the Assembly elections, no party reached the 113 the threshold for the majority. However, in terms of vote share Congress got 38.14 per cent, BJP 36.34 per cent and JD(S) 18 per cent. I am talking about this because no party had a majority. Our high command decided after the results to join hands with JD(S), and Kumaraswamy became the chief minister. Our combined vote shares were 56.44 per cent. This is the people's mandate," Siddaramaiah said while addressing the Assembly.

He said people did not give the majority to any single party in the Assembly elections last year and it was a 'fractured verdict'.

"The coalition government has been in existence for 14 months. The people did not give the majority to any single party in the assembly elections last year, it was a fractured verdict. In democracy. the verdict of the people must be respected by all parties," Siddaramaiah said.

As Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has moved a confidence motion, the Congress leader urged the speaker to allow him some leeway if he exceeds the time to speak.

"The chief minister has moved a confidence motion. You have said that discussions should end at 4 pm and after that Kumaraswamy will speak. I will try and finish before then but in case I exceed the limit I ask you to allow me some leeway," he said.

The 13-month-old Congress-JDS government slumped into a minority earlier this month following the resignations of 16 dissident MLAs from the Assembly.

Speaking in the Assembly, Karnataka Minister and Congress' chief troubleshooter, D K Shivakumar, on Tuesday said that rebel MLAs staying in Mumbai have backstabbed them, not the BJP, and warned the saffron party that it will be its turn next.

The Assembly has 225 members, including one nominated MLA. The halfway mark in the House is 113.

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