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Yeddyurappa narrowly wins second trust vote

By The Assam Tribune

BANGALORE, Oct 14 (IANS) - The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka Thursday passed the floor test with Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa narrowly winning the second trust vote with 106 votes in its favour while the combined opposition bagged 100 in the state Assembly.

Celebrations erupted in the House with Yeddyurappa and his colleagues flashing V signs as the Speaker KG Bopaiah declared triumphantly that 106 ayes went for the chief minister's motion.

Jubilant BJP members immediately thumped their desks. Many hugged one another.

After first putting the motion to voice vote, the Speaker agreed to a head count when Congress leader Siddaramiah and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) legislative party leader HD Revanna insisted on a division of votes.

Unlike Monday when the first and controversial confidence motion was passed by voice vote (105-0) amid bedlam, the trust vote Thursday was done in an orderly manner.

The outcome of the vote is subject to the ruling of the Karnataka High Court, which is hearing the case of 16 legislators - including 11 of the ruling BJP and five independents - against their disqualification by the Speaker.

As the strength of the 225-seat House that includes one nominated member was reduced to 208, the BJP, which has 106 members, including the Speaker, ensured the presence of all its legislators except Manappa Vajjal.

Though all 73 Congress lawmakers voted against the motion, MC Ashwath of the JD-S also abstained, reducing the party's votes to 27 as against 28.

Lone independent member Varthur Prakash, who switched over from the Opposition ranks Wednesday, voted in favour of the motion to give the BJP 106 votes.

In a desperate attempt to defeat the government, the five disqualified independents rushed to the high court Wednesday for a direction to the Speaker to let them exercise their vote. Their joint writ petition is pending and has been posted for hearing on Oct 18.

A division bench of the high court, headed by Chief Justice KS Khehar and Justice N Kumar, however, declined to let them attend the session or submit their votes in a sealed cover to the court.

The division bench also rejected the independents' last plea to postpone the session. Justice Khehar said the court did not have the power to direct the Speaker.

The five independents who were also cabinet ministers in the 34-member Yeddurappa government are Shivaraj S. Tangadagi, Venkataramanappa, PM Narendra Swamy, D Sudhakar and Gulihatti Shekar.

The division bench Tuesday posted the disqualification case of the independents to Oct 18 after directing their counsel KG Raghavan to re-submit the amended writ plea as the original petition was flawed.

The bench also reserved its judgment in the disqualification case of the 11 BJP rebel legislators after their defence counsel and the prosecution concluded arguments Tuesday.

Bopaiah disqualified the rebels Oct 11 in response to a petition by the ruling party Oct 8 after they withdrew support to the government, expressing lack of faith in the leadership of Yeddyurappa.

The independents also challenged the speaker's Oct 8 directive to reply to his show-cause notice in two days by Oct 10 as against the mandatory seven days in accordance with the Karnataka legislature rules.

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