BS Yediyurappa Wins Karnataka Trust Vote, Speaker Resigns Soon After

BENGALURU: The BJP government led by BS Yediyurappa sailed through the trust vote in the Karnataka assembly today after an intense, three-week power struggle, which saw 18 lawmakers bring down the 14-month-old coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy. Last evening, the last of the coalition’s rebel lawmakers were disqualified by Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, who resigned after the trust vote today. Mr Yediyurappa said he would not indulge in “politics of vengeance” as he believed in the “forget and forgive” principle. The Congress and the JDS have accused the BJP of horse-trading — an allegation the party has denied.

Ahead of the trust vote, BS Yediyurappa – who is becoming Chief Minister for the fourth time – said he was “given the chance” to be back in this seat “for a special reason”. “If you think that we took a decision that will affect the people in a bad way, you can reach out to us,” he added. The 76-year-old had started the day with prayers at a temple in Bengaluru.

“Sometimes we have had to take some harsh decision, we are small people. We should try and not disrespect the chair that we sit on… People come and go, chief Ministers come and go, be good and do good,” Speaker KR Ramesh said before he resigned.

“All that has happened with the rebels, with power – all this will go down in history… The rebels have been brought to the streets. They had special flight last time, (this time) I hear that they are getting normal flights,” HD Kumaraswamy said.

Mr Yediyurappa’s one-line motion — that said the House expresses confidence in the ministry headed by him – was passed with a voice vote. He said the administrative machinery had collapsed and his priority was to bring it back on track.

Last evening, Speaker KR Ramesh disqualified 11 rebel lawmakers of the Congress and three from HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular. The move brought down the strength of the House to 208, and the majority mark to 105 – a number within the BJP’s reach.

Mr Yediyurappa later said he was confident of proving majority in the house. “On Monday, I will prove my majority 100%,” he told reporters in Bengaluru.

All the lawmakers have been disqualified from the assembly till the end of its term, which calls for by-elections in all 16 constituencies. The disqualified lawmakers said they would challenge the Speaker’s decision in the Supreme Court today.

Five of rebels, along with an Independent lawmaker, returned to Bengaluru from Mumbai this morning. Independent Nagesh said he would vote for Mr Yediyurappa.

The first test of strength took place last week after 13 lawmakers of the Congress and three from the JD(S) resigned and two Independent lawmakers who were supporting the government switched sides earlier this month. The coalition could scrape up only 99 votes against the BJP’s 105.

The BJP moved swiftly after the Speaker disqualified three lawmakers on Thursday, staking claim to form government and pushing for a trust vote today. State BJP chief BS Yediyurappa (who also changed his name), took charge of the government as the Chief Minister for the fourth time on Friday.