BJP ‘100% sure’ of passing Karnataka floor test

The Supreme Court of India has ordered newly elected chief minister of Karnataka, BS Yeddyurappa, to take floor test in the Vidhana Soudha (assembly pictured) on Saturday before 4 pm.

Yeddyurappa has decided to convene the legislative assembly at 11 am for the floor test, a notification issued by Governor Vajubhai Vala said on Friday.

Yeddyurappa said his party is “100% confident” of proving absolute majority in the floor test, ANI reported.

The apex court told the chief minister not to make any major policy decisions before the trust vote. All legislators have to take oath before participating in the floor test.

However, it did not direct the chief minister on how the floor test has to be conducted. Some agencies earlier reported that the court turned down a request from Yeddyurappa for a secret ballot. The pro-tem speaker may decide on the method  of voting — by voice vote submitting legislators’ response orally or division vote with the help of electronic gadgets, slips or through ballot box.

The governor on Friday named BJP leader and former speaker KG Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker. Congress and Janata Dal (S) objected to this arguing that senior-most member of the new assembly and Congress leader RV Deshpande should have been made protem Speaker.

Although Congress and JD(S) challenged the appointment of Bopaiah in the Supreme Court on Friday, the court rejected their petition on Saturday. To ensure openness, the court ordered Kannada channels be given live feed of trust vote proceedings.

BJP’s game plan

Congress and JD(S) together have 116 members with them to easily defeat BJP in the floor test. They are also claiming the support of an Independent lawmaker-elect.

The numbers clearly go against BJP. While the party needs the support of 112 legislators to prove majority, it has only 104 MLAs with them. The party should be looking for at least eight more supporters.

One Independent is reportedly to have offered support for BJP. Congress party’s legislator-elect from Vijayanagara, Anand Singh, who is still missing from the party camp may back BJP. Even then, BJP needs the support of six more members from the rival camp to stay in power.

The party may try to persuade some members of the opposite camp to abstain from voting during the floor test. This way, the magic figure of 112 can be brought down from to 102 or 103.

Lingayat legislators from the rival camp may back Yeddyurappa who represents their community although such cross-voting may lead to their disqualification under the anti-defection law. The lawmakers may face that risk rather than earn the wrath of the community which stood by the saffron party during elections despite efforts by Congress to split their votes.

It is mandatory for all elected legislators to take oath before joining the floor test. BJP may try to persuade some of them in the opposite camp to abstain from taking oath which will lower the magic figure required for majority.