Live blog: Standoff continues as Karnataka govt tries to delay trust vote

Drama in the Karnataka Assembly continued for a second day, hours after the Karnataka Governor asked Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to conduct a trust vote by 1.30 pm on Friday. Around 100 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators slept over in the Karnataka Assembly in protest on Thursday night. The BJP is protesting the delay in taking the floor test by Kumaraswamy. On Thursday, the CM had moved for a confidence motiion to prove that his Congress-JD(S) coalition government has a majority in the state.

The Governor’s direction to the Chief Minister and the Speaker earlier on the trust vote was in response to a written representation to him by a delegation of BJP legislators that the House proceedings for a vote of confidence have been stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality. The Governor’s intervention came after Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told the house that he will approach the Supreme Court for clarity on whether he had the authority to issue whip to all MLAs including the rebels. Siddaramaiah also asked the Speaker not to hold the trust vote till the Supreme Court gave him an answer. The coalition government in Karnataka has not moved the Supreme Court as yet. 

In the Assembly on Thursday, meanwhile, the ruling coalition delayed the trust vote after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy moved a trust motion. A delegation of the BJP had then met the Governor, urging him to hasten the process.

Currently, the ruling coalition has 102 legislators in its kitty. The BJP has 107 MLAs on its side including 105 MLAs and the two independents. The Supreme Court’s verdict on Wednesday stated that the rebel MLAs in Karnataka cannot be forced to follow a whip and appear for the trust vote had stacked the numbers heavily against the ruling coalition.

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