Bengaluru: Leaders of the ruling Congress were left red faced as the gamble to unseat Chairman of the Legislative Council, D. H. Shankaramurthy, came unstuck with the no confidence motion moved against him being defeated by one vote in the floor test held in the House on Thursday.
All 13 MLCs of JD(S) and two independents voted against the motion, leaving the Congress one short of the number required to oust Shankaramurthy and install a candidate of its own. Of the 74 members, 37 voted against the motion and 36 in its favour. Of the five independents, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal and U D Mallikarjuna voted against the motion, giving Shankaramurthy the advantage he needed as Deputy Chairman, Maritibbe Gowda, who chaired the House, did not vote and the BJP was short of one vote owing to the death of its MLC, Vimala Gowda.
Thursday's major setback for the ruling party came with a surprise development - JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy challenging his father and party president H D Deve Gowda's writ by taking a decision to remain with the BJP, and getting his party legislators to follow his line on the confidence vote rather than the one his father would have chosen - to back the Siddaramaiah-led Congress.
The result of Thursday’s no-confidence motion to oust Chairman of the Legislative Council D H Shankaramurthy brought to the fore an interesting development in Janata Dal (Secular): state unit president H D Kumaraswamy taking a call on backing the BJP though his father and patriarch H D Deve Gowda decided to stick to the policy of staying equi-distant from both national parties.
Sources in Janata Dal (Secular) told Deccan Chronicle that it was indeed Mr Kumaraswamy who took a stand on continuing with an understanding with the BJP so that the deputy Chairman of JD (S) would continue in office. Till Wednesday evening, Mr Deve Gowda insisted that the party should maintain its time-tested policy vis-à-vis both national parties.
The former chief minister, however, had a different strategy up his sleeve. Reason: The ruling Congress did not offer the Chairman’s post to his party. Therefore, a change through a no-confidence motion would not make any difference.
Sources also ascribed his decision to two factors: One, he was keen to convey to the Congress that JD (S) would not play a second fiddle to the ruling party. Immediately after winning Assembly bypolls in Nanjangud and Gundlupet, Congress leaders announced that JD (S) was with the Congress.
To maintain the party’s identity, he decided not to go with the Congress.
Two, he sent a subtle message to Chief Minister,
Siddaramaiah and his team that he was the real boss in JD (S). For, Mr Siddaramaiah and his friends were hobnobbing with Mr Deve Gowda keeping in mind the prospect of a fractured verdict in next year’s polls to the Legislative Assembly.
They felt that they could turn to Mr Deve Gowda for support in the event of a hung Assembly.
Today’s turn of events, however, were a clear indication that Mr Kumaraswamy had complete control over the legislature party, sources added....