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Hearing began in the Supreme Court on Tuesday of 15 rebel MLAs of the ruling Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition in Karnataka who  approached the court against the assembly speaker’s  decision not to accept their resignation.

Last Thursday, the court had said there would be no decision till today on the dissident lawmakers who threaten the government’s survival. Sixteen legislators of the JDS-Congress coalition and two independent lawmakers have resigned. Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had told the court that he would need time to examine the resignation letters of the dissidents and determine whether they were coerced or voluntary.

If the resignations are accepted, the coalition’s 118 members will come down to 100 and the majority mark will drop from 113 to 105. The BJP has 105 members and the support of the two Independents, which would take its tally to 107.

The speaker  has claimed that many of the rebels face disqualification from their parties. The court, which had asked for the Speaker’s decision by Wednesday night last week, had questioned whether the Speaker had the power to challenge its order.

The coalition has decided to take a trust vote on Thursday a move seen as a last-ditch attempt to save the teetering coalition that came to power last May after an election that gave no clear majority to any party.

–India Legal Bureau

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