Karnataka floor test : Congress MLA KR Ramesh elected Speaker

BENGALURU: Before the much-awaited floor test in Karnataka, Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar was elected unopposed as the Speaker of the House. Karnataka Deputy CM G Parameshwara proposed KR Ramesh Kumar’s name which was seconded by Congress leader Siddaramahaih. The BJP withdrew the nomination of its candidate S Suresh Kumar giving Ramesh Kumar a walkover. CM Kumaraswamy congratulated Ramesh Kumar and hoped that the next five years pass on peacefully. “We are happy that you have been elected unanimously,” he said.

Yeddyurappa congratulated Ramesh Kumar and said that while they had nominated a member from their party, they decided to withdraw the name and give honour to the chair of the Speaker. “You have an experience as a humble and fair person. The Opposition will cooperate with you in every possible way,” Yeddyurappa said.

Ramesh Kumar is a six-time MLA and has been the Speaker of Karnataka Assembly twice during the HD Deve Gowda and JH Patel governments (1994-99). He was the Health and Family Welfare minister in the previous Congress government of Siddaramaiah. He won from Srinivasapur defeating JDS candidate GK Venkatashivareddy by over 10,500 votes in the recent Assembly elections.

The floor test, which will bring an end to the 10-day political uncertainty in the state that began after the state gave a fractured mandate in the assembly elections, is set to begin shortly. While the Congress has 78 MLAs, Kumaraswamy’s JDS has 37 seats, along with two independent candidates. Kumaraswamy had won from two constituencies.

Ahead of the floor test, Congress Legislative Party met at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged as the single-largest party in the elections with 104 seats but fell short of a majority by 7 seats in the 225-member house. Despite the number crunch, the BJP staked claim to form government and BS Yeddyurappa took oath as the Chief Minister. Governor Vajubhai Vala gave BJP 15 days to prove their majority but the Supreme Court in an interim order cut down the timeframe drastically to 2 days. Within 2 days, Yeddyurappa had to step down from the post after he was unable to prove his majority in the House.

After Yeddyurappa’s resignation, Governor Vajubhai Vala invited Congress-JDS alliance to form government in the state and Kumaraswamy was sworn-in.