Karnataka Assembly speaker K R Ramesh Kumar on Sunday disqualified 14 more rebel MLAs under the anti-defection law till the end of the assembly term in 2023, a day ahead of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa seeking the trust vote in the assembly to prove his majority.
Eleven Congress MLAs and three JDS lawmakers faced the axe from the speaker, who pronounced his ruling at a hurriedly called news conference, two days after Yediyurappa took the oath as chief minister after the collapse of the Congress-JDS coalition government.
The Speaker's action would have no bearing on the fate of the Yediyurappa government, as with disqualification of the errant MLAs with immediate effect, their absence would reduce the effective strength of the House, making it a smooth affair for the BJP.
A day ahead of seeking the trust vote in the Karnataka assembly, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Sunday expressed confidence about proving the majority.
He also said that the finance bill prepared by the previous Congress-JD(S) government would be tabled by him in the assembly on Monday, without any changes.
"On Monday hundred per cent I will prove the majority," Yediyurappa told reporters here.
The finance bill (appropriation bill) needs to be passed "urgently", as otherwise "we will not be able to draw funds even to pay salaries," he said.
"So tomorrow after moving the confidence motion,we will first take up the finance bill. I have not even changed a comma or full stop in it. I will be tabling the finance bill prepared by the (previous) Congress-JD(S) government," he added.
The absence of 20 MLAS--17 rebels, also one each legislator from Congress, BSP and Independent--during the vote of confidence motion moved by the Congress-JDS coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy had led to its downfall after weeks of drama marked by murky political intrigues and court battle.
With the disqualification of 17 rebel MLAs --14 from the Congress and three from JDS -- on Sunday, the effective strength of the 224-member assembly excluding the Speaker, who has a casting vote in case of a tie, is 207. The magic figure required will be 104.
BJP along with the support of one independent has 106 members, Congress 66 (including nominated), JD(S) 34 and one BSP member, who has been expelled by the party for not voting for the Kumaraswamy government during the trust vote.
"I have used my judicial conscience... I am 100 per cent hurt" said the Speaker, when asked about his controversial decision on disqualification being called into question and allegations about his conduct in the entire issue.