Karnataka braces for Assembly floor test on Saturday

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Bengaluru, May 18 (IANS) As directed by the Supreme Court on Friday, a floor test will be conducted in the Karnataka Assembly here at 4 p.m. on Saturday to ascertain if BJP Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa enjoyed majority support in the House, an official said here.

“Governor Vajubhai Vala has convened a day-long session of the new Assembly on Saturday to conduct the floor test. He has also appointed BJP legislator K.G. Bopaiah as the Pro-tem Speaker of the House,” state Legislature Secretary S. Murthy told reporters here.

Briefing the media on the arrangements being made and the legislative procedures that have to be followed in compliance with the court’s direction, Murthy said the new Assembly will be convened at 11 a.m. to enable the elected legislators to take oath.

“The Pro-tem Speaker will administer the oath to all the elected legislators one by one, beginning with the BJP lawmakers, followed by members of the Congress, the JD-S and others,” said Murthy.

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The oath-taking will be completed before 4 p.m.

“For conducting the floor test, Bopaiah will tell Yeddyurappa to move the confidence motion as directed by the Governor on May 16 and the Supreme Court today (Friday). The motion will be put to vote by the legislators,” Murthy said.

If the opposition legislators insist on division of votes, the Pro-tem Speaker will ask the members who are in favour of the motion to vote first and those against it soon after.

“The votes in favour of the motion and against it will be counted by the legislature staff starting with members on the first row and ending with those on the last row on both sides – treasury and opposition benches,” said Murthy.

As the May 12 election in 222 constituencies of the 225-member Assembly, including one nominated, threw up a hung House, Yeddyurappa now requires the 112-halfway mark to win the motion or one more than the half of the members present in the House when the floor test is conducted.

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Election to the Raja Rajeshwari Nagar segment in southwest Bengaluru has been postponed to May 28 due to electoral malpractice and polling for the Jayanagar segment in south Bengaluru, which was countermanded due to the death of BJP contestant B.N. Vijaya Kumar on May 4, will be held on June 11.

Of the 222 seats, the BJP won 104, the Congress 78, the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) 37 and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP) and an Independent bagged one each.

As the single largest party, the BJP is eight short of the 112-halfway mark.

As JD-S state President H.D. Kumaraswamy won from Channapatna and Ramanagaram segments, the party’s effective strength in the House is 36 as he can vote only once.

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Though the Governor directed Yeddyurappa to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the House within 15 days from the date (May 17) of assumption of office as the Chief Minister, the top court ordered the floor test on Saturday, rejecting his plea for a week’s time to prove he has the majority.

Vala administered the oath of office to the 75-year-old Yeddyurappa on Thursday in the Raj Bhavan after the latter was elected on Wednesday as leader of the BJP’s legislature party by its 103 newly-elected lawmakers and staked claim to form the government.

Expressing confidence about wining the trust vote, Yeddyurappa told reporters here later that he welcomed the apex court order to face the floor test.

“We are confident of proving our majority on the floor of the House,” he said.

–IANS

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