Karnataka BJP president BS Yediyurappa, who took oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka for the fourth time on Friday, won the floor test on Monday without any hitch. With only 208 MLAs present in the House, Yediyurappa won comfortably by a voice vote, with all 105 BJP MLAs voting for him.
Though the Governor directed Yediyurappa to prove his majority within a weekâ€™s time, he decided to do it by Monday so that he could get the Finance Bill passed before it lapses on July 31.
Speaking in the Assembly, Yediyurappa said, "As I take charge as Chief Minister once again, I promise that I will not practice any form of hate politics. When Siddaramaiah was the CM and when HDK was the CM, they never indulged in politics of revenge. In the next few months I expect to work towards development. We all know how the state of affairs is right now and I want to rectify it. I do not want to indulge in politics of revenge. I believe in forgive and forget. I have the backing of my party high command and JP Nadda. We have to pass the finance and appropriation bill. Hence we had to act with efficiency. The state is reeling from drought and we must be prepared to work for it. For that reason I took oath as CM before the state went into a limbo."
Mondayâ€™s development also cements the position of the new government in the state after days of political uncertainty since July 6, with 16 rebel MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) holed up in a Mumbai resort which resulted in the collapse of the government. Former CM HD Kumaraswamy had tendered his resignation on July 23 after losing the floor test. All the rebel MLAs now stand disqualified as Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar announced his decision on the 14 dissidents on Sunday after already having disqualified three MLAs on Thursday.
This reduced the strength of the House to 208, with the magic number at 105. The BJP on its own has 105 MLAs.
The disqualified MLAs are ST Somashekhar (Yeshwanthpura), BC Patil (Hirekerur), Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapur), Prathapgouda Patil (Maski), K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), AH Vishwanath (Hunasuru), Narayana Gowda (Krishanarajapete), Munirathna Naidu (RR Nagar), Roshan Baig (Shivajinagar), Byrathi Basavaraj (KR Puram), MTB Nagaraj (Hoskote), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapura), Shrimant Patil (Kagwad) and Anand Singh (Vijayanagara). The MLAs who were disqualified on Thursday were Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Mahesh Kumathall (Athani) and R Shankar (Ranebennur).
While Speaker Ramesh Kumar observed that they cannot re-contest elections until the expiry of the current Assembly term due to the disqualification, the rebel MLAs are set to contest the Speakerâ€™s order in the High Court or the Supreme Court. If the Speakerâ€™s verdict is upheld by the court, the rebelsâ€™ prospects of becoming ministers in the BS Yediyurappa government is out of contention.
However, in the recent case of 18 AIADMK MLAs, who were disqualified in September 2017, they were allowed by the apex court and the Election Commission to contest the bye-elections held six months later.
With bye-elections due in the 17 seats, according to political observers uncertainty might resurface in state politics again if the BJP fails to match the magic number of 113 MLAs in the full House. And if the rebels make their way back to the Assembly on BJP tickets, Yediyurappa will find it hard to accommodate them in ministries.
Noted political analyst Mahadeva Prakash said, â€śIt would be very difficult for the BJP to manage the affairs following this. There will effectively have close to 20 MLAs of the outgoing government including two independents. All these MLAs have to be accommodated, and there are already factions within the BJP. So it will be a very ticklish situation for Yediyurappa to run the government safely.â€ť