Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy goes down fighting

Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote 99 to 105 that ended the political crisis that had gripped Karnataka for 18 days

HD Kumaraswamy
HD Kumaraswamy

KV Lakshmana

An emotional speech by Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday evening preceded the trust vote, the outcome of which was known for many days ever since 16 rebel MLAs from the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) hid away in BJP-ruled Maharashtra in a luxurious resort.

Kumaraswamy lost the trust vote that ended the political crisis that gripped Karnataka for 18 days.

As the trust vote was nearing completion in the assembly, outside the assembly and in fact the entire city, police imposed section 144 in view of tension that mounted as Congress, JD(S) and BJP workers and leaders came face to face near a private residential complex where two independent MLAs were housed.

Such was the ugly altercation between the two sides, with vociferous slogan shouting by both sides that the police swung into action and Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar declared imposition of Section 144 all across the capital city of Bengaluru for 48 hours.

The final tally after the trust vote was along the expected lines with the coalition falling short of the magic number of 103. All the 105 BJP MLA voted against the trust motion and all the Congress and JD (S) MLAs present in the house voted for the trust motion, but their number was not enough to save the government. The Speaker abstained from voting.

The final tally stood at 99 for the trust motion and those against stood at 105.

Speaker BR Ramesh Kumar read out the result and declared that the Kumaraswamy government had lost the trust motion.

After losing trust vote, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy announced his resignation and said he would call on the Governor to submit the papers to him – thus bringing down the 18 day long political turmoil the state plunged into ever since the rebels MLAs went away and lodged themselves into a resort, with some help from the BJP.

Now with Kumaraswamy’s resignation, the ball is in the Governor’s court.

Earlier during his emotional speech, Kumaraswamy had hinted that he would quit saying that he was not hankering after power and would gladly give up his position.

The final tally after division was pressed by leader of opposition BS Yeddyurappa left the coalition government short by four votes

Earlier inside the house, the coalition leaders, Kumaraswamy, Siddaramaiah, state water resources minister DK Shivakumar, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao used the debate to highlight the BJP ‘excesses’ in creating trouble and instability to the government ever since it took office last May. Leader after leader launched into a scathing attack against the BJP and charged it with murdering democracy, whether in Goa, north eastern states or now in Karnataka.

This is perhaps one trust vote in which the opposition did not offer any speakers to participate in the debate, save for the odd intervention here or there. The intention of the opposition seemed to be to get the trust vote done over with at the earliest, even as it alleged that the government was unnecessarily delaying the trust vote.

“People will not accept the BJP’s way of forming the government,” Kumaraswamy said using his ‘farewell speech’ to list out his achievements as also to explain to the people the circumstances in which he formed the government and how he worked against the odds. “I have worked without wasting any time,” the Chief Minister said and rubbished all the allegations of the BJP about his government and his functioning.

“I have never taken a government bungalow, nor an official car, never claimed TA/DA. I use my own car. I have tried to work under very difficult circumstances. Can any leader prove I was involved in a scam? Show me the proof,” Kumaraswamy said rejecting all allegations made against him by the Opposition.

He took the opportunity to laud the government officials he worked with. "From day 1 of this coalition government, there were media reports of an "unstable" government. It is so difficult for even a stable government to work. How do officials work like this. Our officials have worked day and night. If I have achieved anything, it is the achievement of these officials," he said.

“I am not hankering after office and will gladly give up office. I was asked to form the government by the Congress leadership,” the Chief Minister said adding that he was hurt over reports against him in sections of the media.

Earlier, former Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah mounted a strong attack against the BJP with charges of horse trading. “ Rs 25 crore, 30 crore, 50 crore, where is this money coming from? They (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,” Siddaramaiah said while speaking to media persons.

In a tweet, Siddaramaiah said, “It is very clear that the BJP is behind these filthy political developments. State voters are not fools. The next elections will teach a lesson. How right is it to buy legislators into power and destabilize the existing government and create a government that goes against the wishes of the people?,"

Inside the assembly the former chief minister said, "If one or two legislators go, like retail trade, it doesn't become an issue but wholesale trade is a problem."

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Published: 23 Jul 2019, 7:52 PM