Rebel Karnataka MLAs back in Mumbai

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The Supreme Court on Friday restrained the Karnataka Speaker from deciding on the resignations and possible disqualification of 10 rebel ruling coalition MLAs, ordering "status quo" till further orders from a Constitution bench that would decide the larger issues involved. "Neither the issue of resignation nor that of disqualification be decided till Tuesday", the bench said.

Kumaraswamy said that the Assembly will discuss several other matters and absent MLAs will be disqualified under the "anti-defection law".

"It also requires to be ascertained if the Speaker yesterday sent back the disqualification petitions", the Supreme Court order.

But Kumar on Friday sought more time arguing that parallel disqualification proceedings had been pending against some of the rebels since February and he needed to sort that out first before deciding on the resignations. "We are confident and prepared for smooth and fruitful conduct of legislative sessions", Kumaraswamy said ahead of the commencement of the monsoon session of the legislative assembly. "I am not here to sit in power, I appeal to you that in light of the developments I want to move a trust motion". "If he can't decide on resignations, then it is a brazen case of contempt".

Commenting on the exodus in the Congress, its MLA and former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat told IANS on Thursday, "If the Opposition leader himself quits the party and joins the BJP, what can I say?"

Resignations of the remaining five MLAs were in order and so the Speaker asked three of them to meet him yesterday and agreed to hear two other MLAs on July 15 to ensure that they had resigned from their Assembly seats voluntarily and genuinely.

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If Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar accepts their resignations, the ruling Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition will lose its majority in the Assembly.

If the resignations of the 16 MLAs are accepted, the coalition's tally will be reduced to 100.

Mumbai: The rebel Karnataka MLAs, who flew to Bengaluru to submit their resignations to the speaker, returned to Mumbai Thursday night.

The JD-S had 37 MLAs before three of them submitted their resignations.

The MLAs who have filed the petition are Pratap Gouda Patil, Ramesh Jarkiholi, Byrati Basavaraj, B C Patil, S T Somashekhar, Arbail Shivaram Hebbar, Mahesh Kumathalli, K Gopalaiah, A H Vishwanath and Narayana Gowda.

Pinarayi was referring to the defection of 10 Congress leaders to the BJP in Goa and the resignations of 18 Cong-JD (S) MLAs in Karnataka.

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