Karnataka Assembly: Embattled BJP now eyes Speaker's post

BJP with 104 MLAs fields Suresh Kumar, Trust vote to follow Speaker election today.

Bengaluru: In a sign that the battle for Karnataka is far from over, ahead of Friday's key trust vote to be sought by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, leaders of the state unit of BJP decided not to give up their fight against the new coalition and announced former minister and five-time legislator S Suresh Kumar as the candidate for elections to the Speaker’s post which is also scheduled for Friday.

A day after Mr Kumaraswamy took oath in the presence of Opposition leaders, Mr Suresh Kumar filed his nomination papers to contest against former Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar for the Speaker’s post following instructions from his party’s top brass in New Delhi. The leaders are aware of the party’s strength of 104 legislators and issued a whip, too, to thwart any cross-voting during the Speaker’s election or during the trust vote. The Congress-JD(S) combine has a strength of 117 along with the support of two independents.

Leaving nothing to chance on the eve of the crucial trust vote, leaders of the new coalition decided to retain their legislators in a resort and a hotel in Bengaluru, away from their kin. All legislators would be allowed to unite with their families after the trust vote, ending nine days of separation, ostensibly to thwart defection to the BJP.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters, BJP spokesperson C.T. Ravi said “the party lacks the strength to win the Speaker’s elections, but we want to expose the unholy alliance of Congress and JD(S) by fielding a candidate for the Speaker's post”.

There were conflicting reports that if the BJP failed to secure the Speaker’s post, the legislators were likely to boycott the trust vote. This, however, was ruled out by senior leaders of the party.

KPCC president and deputy Chief Minister Dr. G. Parameshwara requested the BJP not to field candidate for polls to the Speaker’s post. “It is a precedent that Speaker is elected unopposed. The Speaker does not belong to any political party. I request the BJP to support Mr. Ramesh Kumar keeping in mind his seniority and experience. Once he occupies the Speaker’s post, he is above the party”

The post of deputy Speaker will be held by a legislator belonging to JD(S) in line with the power sharing agreement arrived at by leaders of both Congress and JD(S).

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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