Bangalore/Chennai, Oct 10: Uncertainty over the fate of the BJP government in Karnataka grew today with the Governor asking the Speaker not to disqualify any MLA before the trust vote while 11 rebel party legislators held their ground rallying behind JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy.
Embattled Chief Minister B S Yeddyruappa, already facing the heat of Kumaraswamy's machinations, appeared to face an uphill task when Governor H R Bhardwaj stepped in and opened another front when he directed Speaker K G Bopaiah to maintain status quo on the House strength as on October 6 before the rebels withdrew support reducing the Government to a minority.
With the numbers game becoming very critical, the ruling party will be still in minority being six short of the magic mark of 113 on the basis of the existing strength and if the 11 BJP rebels and five independents stick to their stand.
Kumaraswamy said in Chennai his party and Congress would work together to see the fall of the BJP government during the crucial trust vote tomorrow.
Raj Bhavan sources told PTI here that the Governor in his letter to the Speaker directed that the strength of the 224-member assembly which stood as on Oct 6 should be maintained and that all legislators should be allowed to take part in the confidence vote exercise.
The directive which effectively barred any action being taken against any MLA came as a dampener to the ruling BJP, which had been hoping to get a favourable order on disqualification of 11 rebel MLAs, against whom Yeddyurappa has filed a complaint under provisions of the anti-defection law after they withdrew support to his government.
Bhardwaj in his letter said in the interest of a free and fair floor test, no attempt should be made to change the character or configuration of the house after it has been summoned for the purpose.
"Any attempt to change the character or configuration of the house in the run up to the vote of confidence motion, is bound to vitiate the proceeeings", he noted.
The Governor cautioned that "any result obtained by such a vitiative proceedings will not be acceptable".
The first ever BJP government in the South, tottering under revolt of the dissidents who have declared their intent to go against the trust vote tomorrow, had been toying with the idea of bringing down the effective strength of the house to ensure a smooth sailing for itself during the trust vote.
Bhardwaj, in a clear warning, said if there was any alteration in the numbers ignoring his directive, his decision would be final.
He said the process of Yeddyurappa seeking the trust vote tomorrow to prove his government's majority as per his direction should be held as per law.
In the 224-member house, BJP has 117 members, followed by Congress 73, JDS 28 and Independents six.
A number of 113 is required to prove majority in the house. The government was reduced to a minority after 14 BJP MLAs and five Independents withdrew support. Three BJP MLAs have since returned the party fold.
Sacked Fisheris Minister Anand Asnotikar claimed that the dissident MLAs were all "united".
Kumaraswamy, who is in Chennai to hold parleys with dissident BJP MLAs, told reporters, "Both JD(S) and Congress are in the opposition. We are together going to defeat BJP."
Addressing a press conference at a hotel in Cheanni along with the dissidents, the former Chief Minister alleged that the ruling BJP was misusing government machinery as well as the Speaker's chair to win the trial of strength on the floor of the Assembly.
"Our first priority is to remove this bad government and we (opposition) are going to unitedly do that...we are confident that we will defeat the confidence vote," he said.
Responding to reporters' queries on forming government in the event of BJP losing the vote tomorrow, he said that was not the issue now. "The future course of action in this regard will be charted out later," he said.
"We are all united. Now the Karnataka political situation is totally under control. To change the corrupt government, all the MLAs are united," said Kumaraswamy who arrived in Chennai late last night along with the 11 dissident BJP MLAs from Goa. PTI