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Karnataka Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar disqualified three rebel Congress MLAs under the anti-defection law.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, Kumar said that the resignation by the three MLAs — Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathalli and R Shankar — were “not voluntary and genuine”. As a result, he proceeded to disqualify them under the anti-defection law with immediate effect till the end of the term of the current House in 2023.

The Speaker made it clear that Jarkiholi, Kumatalli and Shankar, disqualified under the anti-defection law, will be unable to contest or get elected till the end of the term of the present House.

“They have violated the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) and therefore are disqualified,” he said, adding that they cease to be members from “this day” till the expiry of the current assembly in 2023.

Kumar said he would decide on both the matter of resignations and disqualification pleas pending before him in respect of the 14 other MLAs “in the next couple of days”, which may prolong the political turmoil and have a bearing on government formation.

The 14-month-old Congress-JDS coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy collapsed on Tuesday after losing the vote of confidence in the Assembly, bringing to an end the three-week long power struggle triggered by the raft of resignations.

He said that resignation was a “respectable terminology” while disqualification was “admonishing,” emphasising that the anti-defection law could not be used as a “monstrous law”.

“No by-election…nothing will work. This (Speaker’s office) is a quasi-judicial body,” Kumar said, adding, “I know these matters will go to the court.” On the remaining 14 cases, he said he is “holding them back” and it would require a “couple of days” for him to give his verdict.

Welcoming the ruling, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Dinesh Gundu Rao called it a “victory of democracy.”

Govt formation still unclear

Kumar said he first decided on the resignation, rejecting them as they were not voluntary and genuine “based on circumstances” and thereafter dealt with disqualification after considering “evidences and other orders”.

Asked if the same yardstick would be used against other rebel MLAs, he said, “Wait and see.”


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