Karnataka: SC agrees to hear plea of 5 more rebel MLAs

Five more rebels Congress MLAs from Karnataka has moved the apex court on July 13 against the Speaker not accepting their resignations.

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Kumaraswamy, Karnataka

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the plea of five more rebel Congress MLAs along with the pending petition of 10 legislators seeking a direction to the Karnataka Assembly Speaker to accept their resignation.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submission of senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for the rebel MLAs, that they were also made parties to the pending petition, which is to be heard on Tuesday.

Five more rebels Congress MLAs from Karnataka has moved the apex court on July 13 against the Speaker not accepting their resignations.

These MLAs are Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, N Nagaraj, Munirathna and Roshan Baig.

The apex court had on July 12 restrained Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar from taking any decision till July 16 on the resignation and disqualification of 10 rebel MLAs of the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition.

The move comes amid reports that ministers in the coalition government will be asked to step down to make way for disgruntled MLAs who have resigned as legislators.

The Congress-JD(S) government has plunged into crisis with 13 MLAs of the alliance submitting their resignations to the Speaker so far.

The ruling coalition faces the risk of losing its majority if the resignations are accepted.

The JD(S)-Congress coalition’s total strength after Nagesh withdrawing his support, is 117 (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and Independents-1), besides the Speaker.

The BJP has 105 MLAs in the House, where the half-way mark is 113. If the resignations of the MLAs are accepted, the coalition’s tally will be reduced to 104. The Speaker also has a vote.

“I have this day tendered my resignation to the Council of Ministers headed by Shri HD Kumaraswamy,” Nagesh’s letter to the governor read. He said, “I have been elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly from Mulbagal (SC) constituency, as I am (an) independent candidate. I would by this letter, inform your good self (sic) that, I withdraw my support to the government headed by Shri H D Kumaraswamy. In view of the same, suitable action may be taken.”

On June 14, Kumaraswamy expanded his cabinet by inducting two Independent MLAs Nagesh and Shankar in an apparent move to give stability to his 13-month-old wobbly government.

The exercise was seen as a move to ensure the two Independents don’t jump ship.

Nagesh, a former Congress member, contested and won as an Independent after not getting a party ticket in the 2018 Assembly election.

In December last year, Shankar and he sided with the BJP and wrote to the governor withdrawing support to the government for not being inducted into the ministry during the cabinet rejig then.

As the BJP failed in its alleged attempts to topple the coalition and form the government, the two lawmakers retraced their steps to get back in the ruling alliance.