The Congress, which is in the opposition in Karnataka, is hoping a debate on a motion of no-confidence in the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government in the state will happen today – the last day of an Assembly session truncated by the Covid pandemic.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is also Leader of the Opposition, submitted the notice on Thursday, claiming the people of Karnataka had lost faith in the government after the Covid crisis, rampant corruption, lack of development and deterioration of the state’s finances.
“People are dying everywhere and every day. In the last one week we have lost one central minister, one Rajya Sabha MP and an MLA. In the corona corruption case, there has been a corruption of almost Rs 2,000 crores and there are riots everywhere,” Mr Siddaramaiah said Friday.
The BJP has dismissed the no-confidence call as a “political gimmick” by a party that simply does not have the numbers. On Friday Chief Minister Yediyurappa responded with a pithy “no objection”.
“I have no objection to it. Let them bring it. Every six months they must move the no-confidence motion. So I will be safe for the next six months,” he said Friday to media persons at the Vidhan Soudha.
Mr Yediyurappa’s confidence is based on math that says he is unlikely to lose any vote. The ruling BJP holds 116 seats in the 225-member Assembly. The Congress has 67 while the JDS Dal Secular has 33. The rest is divided between the BSP, independents and nominated members.
Four seats are vacant. All this means the BJP holds an edge in a house where the majority is 112 seats.
The Janata Dal Secular, which ruled Karnataka with the Congress before their alliance (and relationship) went south, has also expressed its doubts over the no-confidence motion. Former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy even suggested it could be a Congress move for publicity.
“Till this moment, Congress leaders have not discussed with us about the no-confidence motion. When it comes before us we will decide,” Mr Kumaraswamy told reporters in Bengaluru last week.
“If they were serious about moving a no-confidence motion, they would have discussed it with us earlier itself. Whether they have done it for publicity or they really want to move a no-confidence in this given situation, I’m not aware,” he added.
Today is the final day of the Karnataka Assembly, which has been cut short because of the Covid pandemic. While 30 bills had been scheduled to be discussed in the monsoon session, only six were taken up.
Members have been shaken by the Covid-related deaths of Congress MLA B Narayan Rao (65) from north Karnataka and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Gasti (55). Tributes for both were held in the House during the current session.
With input from ANI, PTI