BJP wants rebels disqualified from House


The BJP government in Karnataka on Monday filed a complaint seeking disqualification of the 12 rebel MLAs who were planning to quit their side on Tuesday ahead of the February 3 budget session. The move seems to be an attempt by the BJP to buy time and maintain its majority on the floor of the House.

The BJP has alleged that the rebel legislators, through their association with breakaway Karnataka Janata Party, led by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, were indulging in anti-party activities. Currently, the BJP has 117 MLAs in the 222-member Assembly. For a simple majority, the party will need at least 112 MLAs on its side.

The Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah had given the rebel MLAs an appointment for Tuesday to meet him and submit their resignations. But with the complaint on anti-party activities pending against them, the Speaker is expected to take his time in accepting their resignations. This is expected to help Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar push his budget presentation through on February 8. The move is also expected to serve as a deterrent to more MLAs joining the rebel ranks.

The action against the rebels was sought on Monday after the Speaker returned from Kathmandu. He had suddenly left for Kathmandu on January 23 when 13 rebel BJP MLAs first attempted to resign.

Two BJP legislators — Belur Gopalakrishna and M V Nagaraju — who filed the complaint against the rebel MLAs have insisted that the Speaker must consider their plaint before accepting their resignations.

"We want the Speaker to first consider our complaint for disqualification of the MLAs before accepting their resignations,'' said Gopalakrishna, who was among 16 BJP MLAs disqualified overnight by the Speaker in 2010 for alleged anti-party activities on a complaint by Yeddyurappa, then chief minister, before being reinstated by the Supreme Court.

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