Saved by missing speaker, CM Shettar says has majority

WITH the BJP government in Karnataka saved for now by the Assembly speaker not being available to accept the resignations of 13 rebel MLAs, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told Governor H R Bhardwaj Friday that his government enjoys a clear majority.

Bhardwaj, who has said that he will seek a floor-test of the government's strength if necessary, has called for records of the Assembly strength of parties to decide on his course of action.

Shettar, who is preparing to present the final budget of the BJP government on February 8 amid a threat posed by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and rebel MLAs allied with him, met the governor while inviting him for the legislature session.

"I told the governor that there is no threat to my government as I enjoy a majority," Shettar said after the meeting. Shettar's government was left tottering on January 23 by the Yeddyurappa faction when 13 MLAs marched to submit their resignations to Speaker K G Bopaiah.

The government has managed to hang on without having to face a trust vote before presenting its final budget due to the non-availability of the speaker to receive the resignations. Yeddyurappa's rebel KJP has accused the BJP of causing the sudden disappearance of Bopaiah to stay in power.

Bopaiah is believed to have traveled to Kathmandu the night before the resignations by the MLAs affiliated to Yeddyurappa.

The government has, however, hinted that rules allow the speaker to be away without a forwarding address or putting somebody in charge.

After finding the Speaker absent the BJP rebels met the governor and sought his intervention . Yeddyurappa had demanded the resignation of Shettar since his government had lost majority.

Since Wednesday, the rebel MLAs have resorted to emailing the speaker on his official and personal addresses, seeking an appointment at the earliest to submit their resignations. Rules demand that resignations must be given personally to the speaker by the legislators.

The speaker is expected to return only in time for the legislative session beginning on February 3 and is not expected to process the resignations until the end of the session.

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