Two more Cong MLAs quit Assembly, Speaker not to accept resignations overnight

Bengaluru (Karnataka): On a day of drama, arrests and hectic developments, the beleaguered Congress-JD(S) government suffered further blow with two Congress MLAs quitting the Assmebly even as Speaker Ramesh Kumar ruled out accepting resignations "overnight".

The Opposition BJP kept pressure on the ruling combine with former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa heading delegations to the Governor and the Speaker in his bid to get the resignations of disident Congress and JD(S) Assembly MLAs accepted immediately.

There was high drama on a rainy day on the streets of Mumbai when state Irragation Minister and Congress' chief trouble-shooter D K Shivakumar sought to enter a hotel where the disident MLAs were lodged. He wanted to meet them to pursuade them to come back to the ruling-fold. However, his atttempt was foiled by the police even as the hotel cancelled his room booking.

When he persisted on gaining access to the hotel, police detained him along with former Mumbai MP Milind Deora and Congress workers. Shivakumar was taken to government guest house and later made to return to Bengaluru. Befor leaving Mumbai he told reporters, the police was forced to act against him by the BJP government in the state which he called "misuse of power".

In furrther trouble for the government, T Sukumar, who represents Chikaballapur and M T B Nagaraj of Hoskote submitted their resignations and the Speaker said he has called them on July 17 for a hearing.

"Two MLAs Dr K Sudhakar and MTB Nagaraj have resigned from the Assembly. I have not accepted any resignation, I cannot do it overnight like that. I have given them time on 17th. I will go through the procedure and take a decision," Kumar said while speaking to media persons here.

"Like in the case of other MLAs, law will take its own course. The law cannot deviate from person to person, it is uniform for one and all," Kumar said while speaking about the other 14 MLAs who have resigned from the Assembly.

Asked if he has rejected the resignations of other MLAs, the speaker said: "Please do not put words into my mouth. Their resignation letters are not in a prescribed format. I have advised them if they intend to submit their resignations then they should do it a proper manner. Yes. Yes.. they have submitted their resignations." Responding to reports that rebel MLAs have moved the Supreme Court and the matter may be heard by the Chief Justice tomorrow, the Speaker said; "If the CJI is taking up the case tomorrow then let him take that. After all, he is a CJI. I have been not served any notice regarding it. I have been urged to take a decision earlier." He also said a delegation of BJP leaders headed by former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa met him and asked to take a decision on the resignations earlier.

Kumar further said that BJP is claiming that they are in majority but they have to prove it in the House. "They (BJP) claimed they are in majority but they have to do in the floor of the house, not before the Speaker," he said.

In his meeting with the Governor, Yeddyurappa requested Vajubhai Rudrabhai Vala to direct the Speaker to accept the MLAs resignations without any delay. He accused the Speaker of delaying a decision. After the meeting, he told reporters, "I requested the Governor to convey to the Speaker that he should take necessary action immediately. H D Kumaraswamy has no moral right to continue as the Chief Minister as he does not have the numbers." Citing Article 190(3) (b) of the Constitution read with Rule 202 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Karnataka Legislative Assembly, he said the only constitutional provision left with the Speaker is to act on the resignations of the Congress and JD(S) MLAs.

Meanwhile, the rebel legislators had moved the top court earlier today seeking a direction to Kumar to accept their resignation and not to proceed with the applications for their disqualification from the House.

The plea was mentioned before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Rajan Gogoi by former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi who appeared on behalf of the MLAs.The apex court is likely to hear the matter tomorrow.

The plea was filed by Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkhiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, BC Patil, S T Somashekar, Arbail Sivaram Hebbar and Mahesh Kumathalli from Congress and K Gopalaiah, H D Vishwanath and Narayan Gowda from JD(S).

The 13-month-old Congress-JDS government had slumped into crisis following the resignation of MLAs from the membership of the state Assembly on Saturday.

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