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Karnataka Congress raises issue of whip to defer confidence motion

Congress leader Siddaramaiah told the speaker of the assembly that an immediate confidence motion will unconstitutional.

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Bengaluru: The Congress Thursday pressed for deferring the confidence motion moved by chief minister H D Kumaraswamy till the assembly speaker decided on the issue of whip in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict on the political crisis in the state.

Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah said the 15 rebel MLAs camping in Mumbai were influenced by the Apex Court order that they can abstain from attending the assembly proceedings and asked Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar to give a ruling on the fate of whip issued by him as CLP leader.

“If this motion is taken up, then it will not be constitutional. It violates the constitutional provisions. I request you to defer it. I want your ruling on this point of order,” Siddaramaiah told the Speaker as the House took up the debate on the confidence motion.

Siddaramaiah said if the motion was taken up, it would have a bearing on the constitutionally formed government in the state with 15 MLAs not attending the House during the voting on the confidence motion.

The speaker then said he would consult the advocate general and adjourned the House for lunch.

As Kumaraswamy began his speech after moving the motion, Siddaramaiah raised a point of order concerning the Supreme Court direction on the Karnataka political crisis on Wednesday, saying it had infringed upon his right to issue the whip.

He said the top court had made no mention about the whip but said 15 rebel MLAs could not be compelled to participate in the session and the option was left to them to decide.

“It (court order) infringes on my right to give a whip under the 10th schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law),” he said.

“They (rebel MLAs) are influenced by the supreme court.

They do not come even if I issue the whip because of this order,” said Siddaramaiah.

He also explained that he has two options on hand which are approaching the Supreme Court and seek a clarification on the status of the whip issued by the legislative party leader, who is empowered by the 10th schedule of the constitution.

The second option was to appeal to the speaker not to take up the motion of confidence until the issue of whip is decided by him, Siddaramaiah said.

The Supreme Court ruled that the 15 rebel Congress-JDS MLAs “ought not” to be compelled to participate in the proceedings of the ongoing session of the state Assembly.

The court verdict was interpreted in political circles as a relief for the rebel lawmakers, as it categorically said an option should be given to them as to whether they wanted to take part or stay out of the Assembly proceedings.

The ruling coalition had held out the threat of using the whip against the wayward MLAs, citing the disqualification provision under the anti-defection law.

Also read: Kumaraswamy, battling Karnataka crisis, sees no reason to resign as chief minister


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