Shivakumar rolls up his sleeves
In times of political churn, the powers of Governors and Speakers are basically such that they can buy time for whichever side they decide. Yesterday in Karnataka it was Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar who found an opportunity to do this, for the JD(S)-Congress coalition. While 13 coalition MLAs had submitted resignation letters on July 6, he said only 5 were in the prescribed format, and 8 would have to resubmit their letters. He wants all the MLAs to meet him in person. He says the Speaker’s office is not a post office. In his defence, the Speaker is supposed to ensure that the resignations are voluntary rather than coerced. And if the rebel MLAs have left the state and cannot meet him to satisfy him, that’s on them.
But the Karnataka legislative assembly is set to convene for the monsoon session on July 12. This would mean a floor test. But what happens when the Cabinet advises the Governor to postpone the session? How long could this drag on? Perhaps unwilling to leave their fate to the Speaker and the Governor, today the rebel MLAs have moved the Supreme Court on Kumar delaying the acceptance of their resignations. This action suggests a fear that the more breathing room the Speaker wrangles for the coalition government, it could somehow pull back from the brink of collapse. It is this feat that Congress’s DK Shivakumar also looks to be attempting in Mumbai today.
He has not been allowed to meet the rebel MLAs, staying at the Renaissance Hotel in Powai. His own booking there has been cancelled. Police has imposed Section 144 around the hotel. The nataka of Karnataka is really making itself felt in Maharashtra now. The protesting Shivakumar has been joined by Milind Deora and Sanjay Nirupam. #BJPKidnapsMLAs is trending. There is a protest going on in Bengaluru as well, headlined by Deve Gowda, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Siddaramaiah. Today the optics are of a party really putting up a fight. Even if it loses this battle, this is how Congress must show up in the war every day.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.