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22 Jan 2019, Edition - 1288, Tuesday

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Kumaraswamy’s Floor Test Today, BJP In Race For Speaker’s Post: 10 Points


BENGALURU, KARNATAKA: Nearly a week after the BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa stepped down in face of imminent defeat, it is the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) leader HD Kumaraswamy’s turn to face a trust vote in the Karnataka assembly today, well before the 15-day deadline that Governor Vajubhai Vala had set for him. The new JDS-Congress government in Karnataka – after BJP, the largest party, failed to win an outright majority – has come as a big boost for the opposition ahead of the 2019 national election and Mr Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday doubled up as a show of anti-BJP unity. The JDS-Congress alliance, with 115 seats, is comfortably placed in the 224-member assembly for now, but alleges continuing attempts at breaking their ranks by an aggressive BJP.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to Karnataka floor test today:

1.The BJP, determined that the Congress-JDS combine should take nothing for granted, has decided to put up a candidate for assembly Speaker to force a test of strength before the trust vote.

2.The BJP will pitch former law minister Suresh Kumar against the Congress-JDS’s nominee Ramesh Kumar, a lawmaker who has presided over the assembly in the past.

3.HD Kumaraswamy, however, has a clear advantage today given the strength of the JDS-Congress-BSP coalition in the House. While the Congress has 78 legislators, Mr Kumaraswamy’s JDS has 37, and the BSP of Mayawati has one. The alliance also claims support of two more lawmakers including an independent.

4.On power-sharing formula with the JDS, Congress’ G Parameshwara, who has been made deputy chief minister, said the coalition was yet to discuss modalities about Mr Kumaraswamy continuing as Chief Minister for a full five year term. “We have not yet discussed those modalities,” he said on Thursday.

5.Today’s trust vote is unlikely to be the last challenge that the Congress-JDS alliance faces from the BJP. Mr Yeddyurappa, who quit 55 hours after taking oath as chief minister, has predicted that the alliance won’t last more than three months and there are suggestions that the BJP is hoping that lawmakers left out when the Chief Minister forms his cabinet could be open to switching sides.

6.The ruling Congress-JDS alliance has been keeping its lawmakers on the move or in five-star hotels and resorts in Bengaluru to insulate them from threats or any temptation to defect. They will be brought to the assembly just before the house meets at around noon.

7.A day before the trust vote, BS Yeddyurappa’s key aide Shobha Karandlaje said, “We are expecting many Congress MLAs to rebel,” adding that “they are unhappy about the deputy chief minister and they are also very unhappy about the unholy alliance with the JDS.”

8.State Congress chief G Parameshwara’s elevation to the post of deputy chief minister has reportedly upset another senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar, a contender for the post.

9.Congress and JDS leaders, who had made Mr Kumaraswamy’s swearing-in a prestige issue by inviting non-BJP leaders from across the country, are dismissive of the claims. Mr Parameshwara said he was confident that the government would win the trust vote as “our MLAs are intact”.

10.The 224-member assembly has an effective strength of 221 as voting in two seats, Jayanagar and RR Nagar, was deferred. Also, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy vacated one of the two seats he won, leading to the current tally.

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