It looks like the end of the road for Karnataka's 14-month old Congress-JDS coalition government, as 17 of their legislators were absent from the assembly on Tuesday.
The confidence motion, moved by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on July 18, is to be put to vote by 6 pm after the debate concludes, and with the prevailing dichotomy, Kumaraswamy does not have any reason to smile.
With 17 members absent, the effective strength of the 225-member Assembly at the time of voting will be 208, with 105 the new halfway mark.
The Congress strength has been reduced from 79 to 65, but this includes the Speaker, who can vote only in the event of a tie. Similarly, the JD-S strength has come down from 37 to 34.
With the support of the lone BSP member and the nominated member, the ruling combine has 101 votes, which is four short of the half-way mark, while the BJP's 105 increases to 107, with the two Independents.
Of the 17 missing legislators, 12 of the Congress and 3 of the JD-S are rebels who resigned from the Assembly and are holed-up at a star hotel in Mumbai while other two Congress members are in private hospitals in Bengaluru and Mumbai for treatment.
"The rebels have rejected even the last-minute appeal of the party leaders to be present in the Assembly for voting in favour of the motion, as they have already resigned and the Supreme Court ruled on July 17 that they cannot be compelled to attend the session for the floor test," a leader of the ruling combine told IANS.
Though two Independents, who resigned as ministers on July 8 and pledged support to the BJP were not seen in the Assembly since the 10-day monsoon session began on July 12, the opposition party is hoping they would be present at the time of voting against the motion.
"Even if they are not present, their absence will not make a difference as all our 105 legislators are present in the House to vote against the motion," party spokesman G Madhusudana told IANS.
The BJP leader said that they hoped that good sense would prevail in Kumaraswamy, who knows that his fate is sealed, and he would resign than face a humiliating defeat in the floor of the house.
(with inputs from IANS)