As per Supreme Court's order, Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Thursday gave his reply on the plea of the resignations submitted by the MLAs, after the MLAs went to the apex court alleging that the speaker is halting their resignations.
Responding to the resignations in the press conference, Speaker Ramesh Kumar said: "Its my duty to follow the constitution and inform you of what is happening. I am not involve and it will never be my role to get involved. I was in my office till about 10:45, MLAs did not intimate me that they will be visiting my office, Sunday is a holiday i could not keep my office open, Monday I was preoccupied and could not attend."
The speaker then said that the MLAs did not follow the correct procedure while submitting resignation letter:
"As per rules there is a procedure according to which MLAs should tender the resignation. So if it was not according to procedure it is my duty to ask them to submit it as per norms. There is a responsibilty to check if the resignations are voluntary. If these resignations are valid it is incumbent upon me. Why should I work to please anybody. I am not here to dance on anybody's tune. I am here only answerable to people. Faith of people lies with me. it is not about accepting or rejecting resignations, people have been asking me. There are several cases reported in Indian Constitution and Indian history, ministers have defected to become ministers, but there are rules. Unfortunately the committee formed after defection do not act."
Citing the article from Constitution of India, the speaker said that the matter of defection has been a matter of national concern. He quoted the Article saying: "If it is not combated it it will undermine the very foundations of democracy and principals that sustain it."
He went on to say: "At one point this used to be called a national malady. Real tribute to Gandhiji will be when you bring the anti-defection bill. I am rejecting because I don't need any body convincing, I am 70, I don't dream to live 100 years but I am answerable to the aspiration of the people."
He also asked that why should MLAs need Supreme Court to meet me. He alleged that the rebel MLAs did not come to him and that they went to Mumbai and then to Supreme Court. Citing Article 191 of Constitution he said that the speaker has to be convinced, and therefore he will take his time to decide.
"I will take overnight time to decide that the resignations are voluntary are not. I have taken the videography of the meeting with the MLAs. I will send it to Supreme Court. I will decide. I am only depended on people," he said. He also lashed out at media alleging that they mould the facts, he said that print and electronic media are confused as to what is happening in Karnataka. He kept on reiterating that he is obligated only to the Constitution of India.
Chief Minister HD Kumarawamy is held an emergency meeting at the time of writing the article.
As the rebel MLAs camped in the Renaissance Hotel in Mumbai approached the Supreme Court with Mukul Rohatgi representing them at the top court, on Thursday, Rohtagi had said that the apex court heard the plea and instructed the MLAs to meet the speaker at 6 in the evening on July11. The apex court had also instructed the DGP of Karnataka to give proper protection to the MLAs when they go to meet the speaker. He had added that the Supreme Court has ordered the Speaker to pass an order on the plea of resignation, and the order will be presented in the court tomorrow, after which hearing will commence. The MLAs had accused the Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar of abandoning his constitutional duty and delaying acceptance of their resignations.
Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar confirmed on Wednesday, that two more Congress MLAs Dr. K Sudhakar and MTB Nagaraj have tendered their resignations in the prescribed format, bringing the total number of resignations tendered to 16 MLAs of the ruling state government.
Congress MLAs Dr. K Sudhakar was heckled at the Vidhan Soudha and Congress leaders forced him to enter KJ George's chamber to convince him to take back resignation. Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also met him.
On Saturday, 13 Congress-JD(S) MLAs had resigned including 1 Independent. The JD(S)-Congress coalition’s total strength came down to 117 after (Congress-78, JD(S)-37, BSP-1 and Independents-1) after Nagesh withdrew his support from the government, besides the Speaker. Adding to this if the 3 MLAs resignations are accepted, the government's numbers will go down to 101.
If the resignations of the 16 Congress-JD(S) MLAs are accepted by the Speaker, the Congress-JD(S) coalition’s numbers will come down to 101, besides the vote of the Speaker. If the Speaker accepts the 16 resignations, the Karnataka Legislative Assembly will come down to 209 out of 225, which will leave the half-way mark to 104. As the saffron party has 107 MLAs in its support now, it can call a trust vote and form a government in the state.