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Karnataka Heading For President's Rule?

Bangalore, Oct 11: Karnataka today appears headed for President's rule with the state Governor recommending such a step after Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa won a controversial confidence vote in the Assembly following disqualification of
PTI October 11, 2010 17:13 IST
PTI
Bangalore, Oct 11: Karnataka today appears headed for President's rule with the state Governor recommending such a step after Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa won a controversial confidence vote in the Assembly following disqualification of 16 MLAs.

 Governor H R Bhardwaj is believed to have sent his report to the Centre calling the events and the vote in the Assembly as "unconstitutional" and "farce" and that the state should be brought under President's rule.

He is understood to have noted that Speaker K G Bopaiah's action in disqualifying 16 MLAs--11 of BJP and 5 Independents--was unconstitutional and had vitiated the proceedings.

The Union Cabinet is likely to meet and consider the Governor's report. The Union Home Ministry has expressed concern over developments in Karnataka, especially the "abuse" of the anti-defection law by the Speaker.

Home Ministry sources said there was no no question of disqualifying Independents under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution or for that matter the dissident BJP MLAs even before the vote.

On a dramatic day of developments, the Speaker's decision to disqualify the dissident MLAs and ban their entry into the House came early in the morning in an apparent move to bring down the number required for the ruling party to prove its majority.

Amid scenes of pandemonium, Yeddyurappa moved the confidence vote and "won" the trial of strength as high drama marked the proceedings when Speaker Bopaiah declared the motion of confidence passed by a voice vote.

Charges and counter-charges were hurled from both sides with the Opposition attacking the Speaker as acting as an "agent" of the BJP and the other side criticising the Governor as acting as "Leader of the Opposition".

The Congress called the Speaker's action a fraud on the Constitution and nation while the BJP demanded recall of the Governor.

The opposition vowed to challenge the Speaker's ruling disqualifying disregarding Governor H R Bhardwaj's directive last night not to change the status quo in regard to the party's strength as on October six before the rebels withdrew support reducing the government to a minority.

The MLAs also approached the Karnataka High Court against the Speaker's decision.  The Speaker justified his action saying according to documents available with him the Independents belonged to a "particular" political party.

 He said the Independents should have remained as Independents if they were not not to attract the provisions of the anti-defection law.

The Speaker, ignored the opposition members who had gathered around his chair and were protesting, to declare that the motion of confidence has been passed by "voice vote" with the support of 106 BJP members.

As the House plunged into further uproar, Bopaiah adjourned it sine die.

Unruly scenes were  witnessed with the opposition members breaking the police cordon and entering  the House. Marshals struggled to evict the five Independents-- P M Narendra Swamy, Goolihatti Sekhar, Shivaraj Tangadagi and Venkataramanappa--from the House.

 Several opposition members stormed the Speaker's podium and questioned his conducting of business.

 In an unusual scene,  the police along with Commissioner Shankar Bidari entered the House.

Opposition Congress and JDS leaders then called on the Governor seeking his intervention and dismissal of the first BJP government in the south.

Congress said it would parade their MLAs and also the rebels before the Governor. PTI