oppn parties The Karnataka Conundrum Continues

News Snippets

  • Defence minister Rajnath Singh says India might revise its policy of "no first use" of nuclear weapons in national interest
  • Ravi Sashtri to remain head coach of Team India fro another two years
  • India defends move on Article 370, says entirely an internal matter
  • UN holds closed door meet on Kashmir but China fails in its attempt to censure India
  • Limited public transport service to be restored in J&K from this weekend
  • Educational institutions to reopen in phases from Monday in J&K
  • Government decides to restore telecommunications in phases in J&K starting with landline phones this weekend
  • PM Modi announces that India will have a Chief of Defence Staff soon
  • PM Modi says government worried about population explosion, will introduce schemes to control it
  • Prime Minister Modi explains the decision to read down Article 370 in his address to the nation on the occasion of Independence Day
  • All 6 accused in Pehlu Khan lynching case acquitted
  • Cricketers will now be tested for dope as BCCI decides to come under NADA after a prod from the government
  • NDTV promoters Prannoy and Radhika Roy prevented from travelling abroad. Channel says it amounts to subversion of media freedom
  • TMC spokesman Derek O'Brien questioned for two hours by the CBI on the party mouthpiece 'Jago Bangla'
  • Former finance minister Arun Jaitley has been admitted to AIIMS for breathing problems. His condition is said to be stable
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oppn parties
The Karnataka Conundrum Continues

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

The trust vote in Karnataka did not happen today. After an inconclusive debate, the Speaker adjourned the house till 11 am tomorrow. This after a delegation of BJP leaders met the state Governor and requested him to direct the Speaker to hold the vote today. The Governor did ask the Speaker for the same but KR Ramesh Kumar ignored the advice. The BJP has decided to sit on dharna inside the well of the house tonight to register its protest.

The debate was marred by protests from Congress benches over the alleged surfacing of rebel MLA Shrimant Patil in a private hospital in Mumbai. The Congressmen also wanted the vote to be deferred unless a clearer picture emerged on the Supreme Court ruling. But the writing was on the wall for the alliance. A total of 19 MLAs did not attend the house. This brought down the house strength to 205. With just under 100 MLAs, the alliance was sure to lose if voting took place today. Hence, it has been deferred until tomorrow.

At the heart of the issue is whether the Speaker should accept the resignations of the 16 MLAs or whether he should disqualify them. Although it does not make a difference in the numbers game (for, in either case, those MLAs will not vote) but if they are disqualified, they will not be able to become ministers in case the BJP forms the next government. They will have to first seek reelection and then think of being ministers. The Congress-JD(S) alliance wants that the turncoats do not get an immediate reward for their act of deserting the alliance.

But what is happening is sickening. Democracy is being murdered. The Centre should think of amending the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (popularly referred to as the Anti-Defection Law) to clearly define resignation and disqualification and explain situations where each will apply. For, in the present case, the question of disqualification arose only after the MLAs resigned and the alliance issued a whip for them to attend the assembly, inviting disqualification if they chose to ignore the whip. The law must be amended to give preference to events as per dateline. Also, suitable amendments must also be made in the law to provide a time-frame within which the Speaker of any house has to decide on resignations and disqualification matters.