Karnataka crisis: Speaker disqualifies 14 rebel MLAs

Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Sunday disqualified with immediate effect 14 rebel MLAs, days after the Congress-JD(S) government collapsed after losing the confidence motion.

This is in addition to the three dissident MLAs he had disqualified on July 25.

With the significant development, a total of 17 rebel MLAs from both parties have been disqualified by the Speaker.

All the disqualified MLAs cannot contest elections until the expiry of the term of the 15th Legislative Assembly.

Out of the 14 MLAs, 11 of them are from Congress. The disqualified legislators include — Pratap Gowda Patil, BC Patil, Shivanand Hebbar, ST Somashekar, Shrimant Patil, BA Basavaraja, Anand Singh, R Roshan Baig, Muniratna, K Sudhakar and MTB Nagaraj.

The three MLAs disqualified are JD(S) include — AH Vishwanath, Narayan Gowda and Gopalaiah.

“They had sought a time of four weeks. We had given notice to them but they did not come and meet me,” Kumar told reporters at a press conference here.

“The respondents hence cease to be members of this Assembly with immediate effect till the end of the 15th Legislative Assembly,” he added.

Kumar said that his decision was based on the resignations and pleas filed by both Congress and JD(S).

On Thursday, three rebel Congress MLAs — R Shankar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli were disqualified by the Speaker, stating that they have “incurred disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) and the disqualification would last till the end of the term of the Assembly May 23, 2023.”

These MLAs are barred from contesting the by-elections as well.

Earlier this month, the rebel MLAs had pulled out from the Congress-JD(S) coalition, plunging the coalition government into a minority in the 225-member Assembly, which led to a political crisis in the state.

After days of high-drama and heated debates, the government fell on Tuesday as it lost the trust vote in the House. Following the defeat, HD Kumaraswamy submitted his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala at Raj Bhavan, along with his cabinet ministers.

The defeat marked the end of an uneasy coalition that was formed after the assembly polls on May 23, 2018, which returned a hung verdict after three main parties in the state — Congress, BJP and the JD(S) contested against each other in the polls.

BJP Karnataka president BS Yediyurappa took oath as the new Chief Minister of Karnataka on Friday and is set to take the trust vote on Monday.

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