Any doubts about the stability of BS Yeddiyurappa government in Karanataka were put to rest on Monday as it won confidence motion in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. The Karnataka chief minister won the motion by a voice vote inside the assembly.
Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar stepped down from his position soon thereafter.
In the dying moments of Nataka in Karanataka the now-former speaker Kumar gave a jolt to BJP as he disqualified 14 rebel Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs bringing the total number of disqualified MLAs to 17. Out of these, 14 were from the Congress while 3 were from Janata Dal (Secular). The MLAs have been barred from contesting elections till 2023 by the speaker.
This move by the speaker ensured two things:
- It gave some parting 'relief' to loyal MLAs of Congress-JD(S) combine as it was because of these rebellious MLAs, HD Kumaraswamy-led government eventually fell.
- There were allegations that BJP 'lured' Congress-JD(S) MLAs into their camp in order to engineer demolition of the government. If these allegations are true then the BJP would have had to 'accommodate' the rebels by offering them plum posts in newly formed Yeddiyurappa government. Since these MLAs have now been disqualified, they cannot be accommodated in the government.
These MLAs now will have to seek suspension or reversal of their disqualification and obtain permission from the Supreme Court to contest elections. This process could take months and as time passes, MLAs' bargaining power will rapidly decrease.
In short, the rebel MLAs who brought about a downfall of Congress-JD(S) government may have their political careers in serious trouble.
Though the Congress may have lost its grip on power in Karnataka, disqualification of the rebels is likely to help it safeguard its governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
During the political turmoil in Karnataka and Goa, it seemed as though BJP led alliances will attempt to bring down Congress-led state governments in the country one-by-one. Now however:
- The threat of disqualification may always hang on rebel Congress MLAs in other states as former Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar's decision may have set somewhat of a precedent. Speakers of Congress controlled assemblies across the country can easily justify any decision to disqualify rebel MLAs citing Ramesh Kumar's decision.
- Perception of power in the mind of rebels is often important during rebellions such as that in Karnataka. It is natural that no elected representative would want to put his political career in jeopardy. During such rebellions, MLAs (or MPs, as is the case) are always keeping a watch over which side is likely to win in order to chart their political actions.
In such a situation, fear of disqualification and prohibition from contesting elections may affect the rebellion and more importantly, work in favour of the incumbent Congress-led governments.
This is likely to benefit the Congress which appears on the backfoot yet again.
Watch | Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa wins trust motion through voice vote