As the assembly session in Karnataka began, sources reported a massive rift within the BJP. The rift erupted after the cabinet expansion under Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa that took place in the first week of February. While 10 MLAs including Ramesh Jarkiholi, Anand Singh, K Sudhakar, and BA Basavaraja took oath as cabinet ministers at Raj Bhawan in Bengaluru, new MLAs who joined the BJP after they deserted the previous JDS-Congress government did not get a berth.
As per sources, Yediyurappa is likely to expand his cabinet again. However, sources also say that another coup can happen that might result in fall of the Yediyurappa government. Sources said that the disgruntled leaders had a meeting at BJP minister Jagadish Shettar's residence on Monday.
In July this year, 14 MLAs from the Congress and 3 from the JDS quit the Assembly. As the 17 rebels stayed away from the Assembly, the Congress-JD-S government fell during a trust vote on July 23, as a result of which BJP government under Yediyurappa was formed on July 26. However, on July 25 and 28, then-Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar issued two orders under the anti-defection law, disqualifying the 17 MLAs from the House and barring them from contesting elections during the tenure of the current Assembly. The MLAs then moved the top Court asking that the Speaker’s orders be quashed. The Congress and JD-S too approached the court.
In a big relief to the 17 disqualified MLAs, the Supreme Court on November 13 said that the MLAs can contest the upcoming by-polls in the state. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the disqualification of the MLAs by the speaker. However, the apex court stroke down the period of disqualification. However, cabinet expansion was delayed and then Yediyurappa did not give a berth to the new MLAs stating that he could not find a suitable place.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP in Karnataka is likely to push for a resolution in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) during the ongoing Assembly session, top sources said on Monday. The resolution is expected to be moved towards the end of the special discussion on the Constitution, scheduled for March 2 and 3, the sources said. The move is bound to face stiff resistance from opposition parties the Congress and JDS in the Assembly.
Assembly Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri has decided to hold a special discussion on the Constitution on the two days to commemorate 70 years of the adoption of the Constitution. Though the Speaker has expressed hope that the discussion will focus on the Constitution and legislators would take part in it rising above party politics, there are apprehensions in some quarters that issues like CAA and NRC may figure in the debate.