Prove majority by Friday 1:30pm, Karnataka governor tells Kumaraswamy

SC ruling defangs whip in K’taka

The top court, in its verdict in the rebel MLAs case, had said they had the right to act according to their conscience. "I, therefore, send this message to the House to consider completing the proceedings of the House by the end of the day". A total of 20 lawmakers did not turn up Thursday, including 17 from the ruling coalition, as the House debated in a charged atmosphere with two adjournments amid pandemonium.

"In my capacity as the head of the state I had not intervened on the matter having regard to the fact that the House was called and Trust vote has been moved".

The Congress on Wednesday said the Supreme Court order on Karnataka rebel MLAs, absolving them of the obligation to attend Thursday's floor test, sets "terrible judicial precedent". "This can not go on in a democratic set up governed by the Constitution". However, the missive was ignored and the assembly was adjourned till Friday without any voting.

Before the house was adjourned, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa declared his party members would stay put in the House itself overnight and even till the time the trust vote was decided.

The Governor's direction comes at a time when Siddaramaiah had sought more time for the trust vote. "We will look after our MLAs like our own children", he said in a voice choked by emotions.

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Reddy, a former minister, is among the 13 Congress and three JD (S) MLAs who have tendered their resignations while two Independent legislators have withdrawn their support to the 14-month old Kumaraswamy government, leaving it tottering on the brink of collapse.

It remains to be seen if the Congress will issue a whip for tomorrow's floor test faced by the Congress, JDS government.

If the resignations of 15 MLAs (12 from Congress and 3 from JDS) are accepted, the ruling coalition's tally will plummet to 101, (excluding the Speaker) reducing the government to a minority. But Congress and JD (S) leaders say if Kumaraswamy is not confident of the return of rebels or getting some BJP MLA's to abstain, the chief minister could step down on Thursday itself. "He said he will inquire about it and that he will give his decision", said the Minister. BJP members made their displeasure known several times over alleged delay in taking up the voting on the confidence motion, which at one point led to heated exchanges between the speaker and senior BJP member Madhuswamy, leading to adjournment of the House for half an hour. Also, the MLA will be disqualified from his post.

Speaker Kumar too welcomed the order, while Kumaraswamy refused to comment.

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