Bengaluru: Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy won a floor test in the assembly on Friday after a walkout by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP).
The confidence motion was passed in favour of the three day-old government, a post-election coalition between the Congress and the Janata Dal Secular, by a voice vote.
Prior to the trust vote, Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar was unanimously elected as the speaker after BJP MLA S Suresh Kumar, who had also submitted his nomination for the post, withdrew. BJP leader Yeddyurappa said the withdrawal was to “maintain the dignity of the speaker’s post”.
Before his walkout, Yeddyurappa termed the Congress-JD(S) coalition a sinking ship that would not be able to fulfil its poll promises. The BJP leader also reiterated that the party would launch a party-wide stir if the ruling alliance did not waive farmer loans within 24 hours.
In his speech, Kumaraswamy said his government would carry all sections together, and would take into consideration suggestions made by the Opposition. He also said he was conscious that he was not running a majority government.
“I am also pained that the people have not placed their trust on me,” he said as he moved the motion seeking the vote of confidence, apparently referring to his party JD(S) not being given a clear mandate by the voters. “We will be stable for five years. We will work for the people. We are not here to fulfil our personal interests,” he said.
He also criticised the BJP over its role in events that followed the declaration of assembly elections results on May 15.
As no political party or pre-poll alliance secured a clear majority, the Congress and JD(S) came together to stake claim to power in the state under Kumaraswamy. High drama followed, with governor Vajubhai Vala inviting BJP’s Yeddyurappa to become the chief minister as the nominee of the single-largest party with 104 seats.
The JD(S)-Congress combine, however, challenged the decision saying that they had the required numbers.
The Congress won 78 seats, JDS 37, including the two won by Kumaraswamy, and ally Bahujan Samaj Party one. The alliance also claims the support of two more lawmakers, including an independent.
The Supreme Court later ruled that the trust vote be held on May 19 (as opposed to the governor-granted period of 15 days), forcing Yeddyurappa to step down in the face of certain defeat.
The governor then invited Kumaraswamy to become the chief minister. The swearing-in ceremony on May 23 was attended by prominent leaders opposed to the BJP, including Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, Samajawadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati and CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury. The event was largely seen as a display of Opposition unity in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Even though the JD(S)-Congress combine was assured of a positive result in the trust vote, they kept their MLAs sequestered in resorts to prevent alleged poaching attempts by the BJP.
The BJP indicated that it would continue to maintain pressure on the Kumaraswamy government.
“We walked out on the issue of farmers’ loan waivers. We will hold a state-wide bandh May 28. We will be aggressive now,” said party legislator R Ashoka.