Karnataka Assembly meets tomorrow amid political uncertainty

Jagadish Shettar
The joint session of the Karnataka legislature begins here tomorrow against the backdrop of political uncertainty in the state after resignation of 13 BJP legislators loyal to the B S Yeddyurappa's outfit.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar has, however, brushed aside any threat to his government by Yeddyurappa, who quit BJP to float the Karnataka Janata Party, insisting that he still enjoyed majority and was ready to prove it on the floor of the Assembly.

Governor H R Bhardwaj today said he would address the Legislature tomorrow on the opening day of the Budget Session.

"I am going to summon the House tomorrow and address it," he told reporters before meeting Speaker K G Bopaiah at Raj Bhawan.

To a query, Bhardwaj said no political party has so far approached him seeking a floor test for the Shettar ministry after 13 BJP legislators loyal to Yeddyurappa resigned.

"These people also have not approached me. It is happening outside Raj Bhavan," he said.

Bharadwaj had stated on January 26 that the Shettar government still enjoyed majority and as leader of the BJP legislature party, it was for him to take action on the issue of the resignation of the MLAs.

In the 224-member Assembly, BJP has a strength of 117 excluding the Speaker and requires 113 for a simple majority. These resignations, if accepted, will bring down BJP's strength in the House to 104, including the Speaker. BJP has the support of one of the seven Independents who is a cabinet minister.

The effective strength of the House, however, is 210 as there are 14 vacancies, created by desertion from the BJP ranks. Congress has 71 members and the Janata Dal-Secular 26. There are six other Independents.

A cloud of uncertainty has been hanging over the Shettar ministry ever since Yeddyurappa quit BJP to float KJP in December, 2012. The former BJP strongman has repeatedly put the government on notice about their stability, claiming support of 20-30 BJP MLAs.

His party had set two deadlines earlier to unseat the government but these turned out to be damp squibs.

Shettar has brushed aside these threats and insisted last week that his government still enjoys majority even after the resignation of these MLAs and that he was ready for a no-confidence motion if opposition moved it.

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