BENGALURU:Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday won the trust vote after a walkout by BJP members, ending one more chapter in the ongoing political drama in Karnataka. When the confidence motion moved by Kumaraswamy was taken up for voting, there was no one in the assembly to oppose it as, for the second time in a week, the BJP chose to walk away from a trial of strength despite being the single largest party with 104 MLAs in a fractured mandate produced by the May 12 assembly election. It was after BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa quit as Chief Minister even before taking the floor test on May 19 that the JD(S)-Congress coalition, with a combined strength of 117 MLAs, was invited to form the government.
The 224-member-strong assembly currently has an effective strength of 221 as elections for two seats are yet to be held and Kumaraswamy, who won from two seats, had to relinquish one. Before the trust vote, the members unanimously elected Congress leader K R Ramesh Kumar as Speaker after BJP’s Suresh Kumar withdrew from the race. Yeddyurappa was later recognised as leader of the Opposition.
Moving the confidence motion, Kumaraswamy used the opportunity to hit out at the BJP and Yeddyurappa, who had accused him of hijacking the people’s mandate. The assembly witnessed heated exchanges between Kumaraswamy and Yeddyurappa as the two accused each other of betrayal. In the process the two leaders dug into the muck of their 20:20 coalition government to paint each other as tainted and greedy for power.
“It was a pact between me and Yeddyurappa, not between me and the BJP. Yeddyurappa became CM for nine days only because of me. BJP should thank me for having their first government in South India,” Kumaraswamy said. “I have not come to power due to any personal desire. I have joined hands with the Congress and become CM to serve the people. I will prove those who are predicting the fall of this government wrong,” Kumaraswamy said. He also promised to fulfill his assurance on farm loan waiver. Kumaraswamy termed his decision to form a coalition with the Congress as political atonement for the “sin I had committed by forming a government with the BJP in 2006.”
The retaliation from Yeddyurappa was ferocious and interspersed with sarcasm as he used the occasion to play out the latent animosity among many Congress members against Kumaraswamy and his father H D Deve Gowda. “Forming the coalition government with Kumaraswamy was the biggest mistake of my career. Kumaraswamy is a cheat, and he has not betrayed only me. He did it to (former CM) Dharam Singh, Siddaramaiah, Zameer Ahmed Khan, Balakrishna, Cheluvarayaswamy and now he has betrayed the people of Karnataka by violating their mandate which was in favour of the BJP. Kumaraswamy is ready to do anything for the CM’s chair,” Yeddyurappa said.
The tone and tenor of the attack stunned the House and the members heard Yeddyurappa in rapt attention as he tore into what he called “political drama of Gowda and sons over the years.” Strangely, and to the discomfiture of the JD(S), none of the Congress members raised an objection to Yeddyurappa’s attack on the Gowda clan. Kumaraswamy’s brother H D Revanna’s attempts to interrupt failed with Speaker Ramesh Kumar advising him to have the patience to hear out the leader of the Opposition, and this drew chuckles from even Congress members.
Yeddyurappa demanded Kumaraswamy to fulfill his poll promise of waiving farm loans. BJP members then trooped out of the House even as the Speaker put the confidence motion to vote. It was passed by a voice vote with all ‘ayes’ and not a single ‘nay’.
HDK, Cong leaders for Delhi
Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and Congress leaders Sidda-ramaiah,G Parameshwara and K C Venu-gopal will leave for Delhi on Saturday to finalise modalities of coalition administration, and decide on ministerial berths. CM has sought an appointment with PM Modi to seek speedy clearances for projects funded by Centre.
BJP calls for bandh on MONDAY
BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa has called for a Karnataka bandh on Monday demanding that the government announce farm loan waiver as promised in the JD(S) manifesto. The bandh call excludes Bengaluru.