Bangalore, Oct 11 : Amid scenes of pandemonium, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today "won" a vote of confidence in the Assembly under a cloud after the Speaker disqualified 16 MLAs, including 11 of BJP, hours before the trial of strength. High drama marked the proceedings when Speaker K G Bopaiah declared the motion of confidence passed by a voice vote.
The opposition vowed to challenge the Speaker's ruling disqualifying 11 BJP MLAs and five independents early in the morning, disregarding Governor H R Bhardwaj's directive last night not to change the status quo in regard to the party's strength as on October six before the rebels withdrew support reducing the government to a minority.
In Delhi, Union Home Ministry sources expressed concern over the "abuse" of the anti-defection law by the Speaker when he disqualified 16 MLAs.
Amidst slogan shouting by opposition Congress and JDS members, Yeddyurappa moved a one-line motion which said "this House expresses confidence in the government led by me".
The Speaker, braving the opposition members who had gathered around his chair and protesting, declared that the motion of confidence has been passed by "voice vote" with the support of 106 BJP members. As the House plunged into further uproar, Bopaiah adjourned the House sine die.
Earlier, the House witnessed high drama with opposition members breaking the police cordon and entering into the House and marshals struggling to evict five independents-- P M Narendra Swamy, Goolihatti Sekhar, Shivaraj Tangadagi and Venkataramanappa-- from the House.
Several opposition members stormed the Speaker's podium and questioned his conducting of business. In a breach of rules, the police along with City Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari entered the House. Opposition Congress and JDS have decided to call on the Governor seeking his intervention.
Congress said it would parade their MLAs and also the rebels before the Governor. Commenting on the Karnataka Assembly Speaker's decision to disqualify rebel MLAs, Union Home Ministry sources said the "abuse" of the anti-defection law was more so in the case of disqualification of independents. They said the Tenth Schedule does not apply to independents and, therefore, there is no question of their disqualification.
Even in the case of dissident BJP MLAs, the sources said disqualification can only be on two grounds - one if the MLA resign from the party voluntarily and two if he votes against the whip. Therefore, there is no question of disqualification of the BJP MLAs before the vote, the sources said.
Soon after winning the trust vote, the BJP held its legisalture party meeting and thanked its men for the support to the government. Home Minister R Ashok declared "BJP government has won the vote of confidence".
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, "Inspite of all the conspiracy and the muscle and money power that Congress exhibited with clear support of Governor, this has been a marathon proof that the people are with us".
"From now starts the business of highlighting how the Congress has adopted all possible means to bring down a democratically-elected popular government and then disrupting it from functioning," she said.
Senior Congress leader Dr G Parameshwara slammed the way the proceedings were conducted and claimed that Congress-JDS and rebels comprised together had the strength of 118 members as against 106 of the BJP.
Flaying the way the BJP government won the trust vote, JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy accused the Speaker of misusing his power. "They (BJP) have not won war. The Speaker only announced that today he considered voice vote, they won. In this issue when confidence moved by the Chief Minister, count has to be done. Illegally, the Speaker misused his power and announced it and ran away from the House. Acutally, the BJP has not won the confidence vote," he said.
"Legally, it will not be considered by any authority," he said. Kumaraswamy said his party members will meet the Governor and ask him to dismiss the government.
"Members of both Congress and JDS and even the disqualified MLA will go and meet the Governor in this regard, he said, Independent member Goolihatti Sekhar, one of those disqualified, tore his shirt inside the House to register his protest against the passing of trust vote by voice vote.
Opposition Congress leader in the state Assembly Siddarmaiah slammed the government and also the Speaker for the events that unfolded in the House and said "Yeddyurappa failed to win the trust vote".
He demanded the Governor dismiss the Yeddyurappa government forthwith. KPCC Working President D K Shivakumar too shared a similar view and said all rules and norms were violated in the House during today's proceedings. PTI