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India


K'taka crisis: Positions harden, hi-tech hub on edge

New Delhi/Bengaluru, Jul 11 (UNI) Ten rebel MLAs, belonging to the ruling INC-JD (S) coalition, met Karnataka Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar on Thursday and submitted their resignations again, on a day of fast-paced developments.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed the rebel legislators to appear before the Speaker by this evening and confirm their resignations, which, if accepted, will reduce the ruling HD Kumaraswamy dispensation to a minority in the software capital of India.
It also directed the Speaker to take a call on resignations by Thursday night. The matter will come up for further hearing on Friday before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose.
The apex court also declined to give urgent hearing to an application moved by the Speaker to extend the midnight tonight deadline set by it to decide on the resignations.
In his petition, the Speaker pleaded to the Supreme Court for time to examine the resignations, to decide whether they were coerced or voluntary.
Numbers game
The rebel MLAs had approached the apex court alleging that the Speaker had not accepted their resignation letters in a bid to help save the Indian National Congress-JD(S) government and give its troubleshooters time to regain numbers.
Representing the lawmakers, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi accused the Speaker of partisan politics. A spate of resignations by Congress-JD(S) MLAs has pushed the 13-month old HD Kumaraswamy government to the brink of collapse.
A Congress delegation has petitioned Speaker seeking the disqualification of its eight rebel MLAs under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution for defection.
Earlier, the Congress had petitioned to disqualify only two MLAs, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumatalli. Janata Dal (Secular) has also petitioned the Speaker to disqualify its three rebel MLAs.
The state Cabinet, chaired by Mr Kumaraswamy, met Thursday to take stock of the situation arising out of the resignations. Exuding confidence that the government would survive, the cabinet said it was ready to face a no-confidence motion, if moved by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
Opposition MPs from the Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Communist Party of India held a protest in Parliament House, alleging that the political crises in Karnataka and Goa posed a threat to democracy.
Shouting slogans, a number of top Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Anand Sharma, protested near the Gandhi statue in the complex.
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