KR Ramesh Kumar has proved to be a friend both to chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and his two predecessors, HD Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah. No mean feat this.
By disqualifying 14 rebel MLAs in addition to the three he disqualified earlier this week, Ramesh Kumar has cleared the decks for Yediyurappa to win the trust vote on Monday. The strength of the Karnataka assembly is now down to 208 and the BJP with its 105 MLAs and the support of the BSP MLA can easily sail across. It will mean that Karnataka will see a BJP government in place at least for the next six months.
It also solves a big headache for Yediyurappa. He no longer has to think about how to accommodate the senior among the rebels as ministers in his cabinet. The Karnataka BJP too will be delighted as they no longer have to share the spoils of power with the rebels and both BJP legislators can be made ministers.
Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah will see this as adequate revenge. It is because the rebels refused to play ball that the coalition government collapsed and the duo had declared on the floor of the House that they will not take back the rebels into their respective parties.
Siddaramaiah immediately tweeted calling the Speaker’s decision as a “real victory for democracy”.
The rebels are the biggest losers. They now have to await the court verdict on two counts. One to remove their disqualification which only will enable them to compel Yediyurappa to induct them as ministers. Two, to ensure they are not disqualified till the end of this Assembly term because that would put them out of electoral action till 2023.
Should their disqualification till 2023 stay, then the BJP will be free to field its own candidates without the pressure of having to accommodate the rebel MLAs on the BJP ticket in the byelections. But with Tamil Nadu as the precedent, it is unlikely that the Speaker’s word will sail through in court.
The rebels’ only hope now is to be made chairpersons of corporations and BSY will have to figure out how many he can accommodate in those positions. MLAs like MTB Nagaraj, R Shankar may be regretting their decision because they have lost both their position as ministers in the Karnataka government and the prestige that came with it as well as their post as MLAs.
BSY will also draw comfort from the fact that both the JDS and the Congress will be forced to support the passage of the Finance Bill in the Assembly since it was their baby, presented when they were in power.