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BSY confident in touch-&-go test
Amid charges of attempted “poaching”, abduction of an MLA, and a massive row over appointment of Pro-tem Speaker, Karnataka on Friday braced up for the crucial floor test to decide the fate of the BS Yeddyurappa-led BJP Government on Saturday.
After rejecting the BJP’s plea to give at least one-week time to Yeddyurappa, the Supreme Court fixed 4 pm for the show of strength. The Congress again knocked on the Supreme Court door late in the evening, questioning the appointment of BJP MLA KG Bopiah as Pro-tem Speaker. The SC on Friday night decided to hear the plea on Saturday at 10.30 pm.
While Yeddyurappa expressed confidence that he would win the floor test, so far there is no indication how he would ensure abstention of at least 14 MLAs to retain his chair.
The BJP has 104 MLAs and it could win the floor test in the Karnataka Assembly with an effective strength of 221 only if that number is reduced to 207. The Congress has 78 MLAs, JD(S) 37, BSP 1, KPJP 1 and Independent 1. The Congress-JD(S) alliance also counts on support of 1 Independent, 1 BSP and 1 KPJP MLAs, taking their effective strength to 118.
With poaching fears running high, the Congress on Friday released an audio clip of Gali Janardhana Reddy of Bellari in which he is allegedly trying to lure Raichuru Rural MLA Basanagouda Daddala by offering him money and a Ministry to vote in favour of Yeddyurappa. Addressing a Press conference in Bangalore, Congress leaders Rajiv Gowda and Ugrappa alleged Reddy tried to lure their MLA by offering him bribe.
In the audio clip, Reddy is heard trying to woo the MLA to the BJP camp. “You don’t worry, now don’t take a step back. I will support you. I will arrange a meeting with the national president (Amit Shah) and you can speak to him one-to-one and we can take the next step. We will get you whatever post you want... whatever designation you want,” Reddy allegedly told the MLA.
Reddy also allegedly told the MLA that those who have listened to him earlier have become rich and got a great post. “You should think of ourselves”. However, the Congress MLA reportedly refused to accept the offer saying, “The party has done so much for me and helped me contest the election. I cannot betray them. Although I have utmost respect for you.”
Meanwhile, the MLAs of both the JD(S) and the Congress, who were confined to resorts in Hyderabad, are coming back to Bengaluru.
Facing a Herculean task to meet the numbers, Yeddyurappa said he was confident that he would be able to prove majority. Commenting on the Supreme Court’s order for a floor test, he said, “We are 100 per cent confident that we will prove full majority.”
Yeddyurappa’s aide Shobha Karandlaje said the party welcomes the SC order and the Chief Minister will prove majority on the floor of the House tomorrow. She also tweeted that her party was in contact with Congress legislators who were upset with the party leadership for aligning with the JD(S).
“We will abide by the Supreme Court verdict ... we have got 100 per cent support and cooperation to prove the majority,” Yeddyurappa told reporters here soon after the apex court’s order.
Yeddyurappa has already appealed to the Congress and the JD(S) MLAs to vote according to their conscience, an expression used by Indira Gandhi in 1969 when she indirectly called upon Congress lawmakers to ensure the defeat of Neelam Sanjiva Reddy in the presidential election. VV Giri, the unofficial nominee backed by Gandhi had then become the President of India.
There is also rumours of Lingayat MLAs of the JD(S)-Congress alliance being in touch with the BJP, and Vokkaliga MLAs in the saffron party cozying up to the Congress-JD(S) combine owing to caste sentiments. Kumaraswamy, son of the JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, is a Vokkaliga.
Meanwhile, the Congress accused the BJP of abducting and “keeping in wrongful confinement” party MLA Anand Singh by using the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax (I-T) department against him.
Addressing a Press conference in Bengaluru, Congress leaders Siddaramaiah and Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the BJP of abducting their MLA Anand Singh. They spoke to the media after participating in a demonstration by the Congress against Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala and said all the 78 legislators of the party and two other MLAs were with them. However, they alleged that Singh had been “abducted”.
Siddaramaiah said, “(Congress MLA) Anand Singh is abducted and kept in wrongful confinement by the BJP people using the ED and the I-T. This is what the BJP people are doing... Shamelessly doing. BJP president Amit Shah did the same kind of manipulation in all the States. They don’t know the Constitution and the law. They don’t know anything other than false propaganda.”
Azad said Singh was in Delhi and would be with the party once he is “freed”. “Singh is being held hostage, but he is in touch,” Azad said.
On another MLA Pratap Gowda Patil, who is also reported to be “missing”, Siddaramaiah said he was with them. “Pratap Gowda Patil came and signed on the paper (list of MLAs) that was submitted to the Governor,” he said.
The Congress leaders rejected reports of break in the ranks of the Congress and the JD(S) MLAs. They maintained that all of them were together. Welcoming the Supreme Court ordering the floor test on Saturday, Siddaramaiah said the BJP did not enjoy majority with only 104 seats.
“All of us are together. We have an understanding. Despite this being reality, despite they (BJP) not asking for 15 days, the Governor has given them 15 days to prove majority. What inference could one draw?” he added.
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