B S Yeddyurappa who took over as the chief minister of Karnataka won the crucial floor test on Monday as expected without much ado. With the strength of the state assembly reduced to 208 from the original 228 following the expulsion of several MLAs on Sunday night, the BJP’s Yeddyurappa won comfortably by a voice vote, with all 105 party MLAs voting for him. Though the Governor had directed Yeddyurappa to prove his majority within a week’s time, he decided to do it by Monday so that he could get the Finance Bill passed before it lapses on July 31.
Monday’s development also cements the position of the new government in the state after days of political uncertainty since July 6, with 16 rebel MLAs of the Congress-JD(S) holed up in a Mumbai resort which resulted in the collapse of the government. Former CM HD Kumaraswamy had tendered his resignation on July 23 after losing the floor test. All the rebel MLAs now stand disqualified as Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar announced his decision on the 14 dissidents on Sunday after already having disqualified three MLAs on Thursday. This reduced the strength of the House to 208, with the magic number at 105. The BJP on its own has 105 MLAs.
While Speaker Ramesh Kumar observed that they cannot re-contest elections until the expiry of the current Assembly term due to the disqualification, the rebel MLAs are set to contest the Speaker’s order in the High Court or the Supreme Court. If the Speaker’s verdict is upheld by the court, the rebels’ prospects of becoming ministers in the BS Yeddyurappa government remain bleak.
—India Legal Bureau