On a day of high drama in the Karnataka Assembly and swift developments later, Governor Vajubhai Vala on Thursday directed Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to prove his majority on Friday by 1:30 p.m.
"I require you to prove your majority on the floor of the House on or before 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday)," said Vala in a letter to the Chief Minister within hours after Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar adjourned the Assembly to meet on Friday at 11 a.m. for resuming the debate on the confidence motion Kumaraswamy moved earlier in the day for a floor test.
The Governor also brought to the chief minister's attention that he had already directed the Speaker to hold the floor test by the end of the day (Thursday) under Article 175(2) of the Constitution.
"But I am informed that the House is adjourned today (Thursday). Under these circumstances, I require you to prove majority on Friday by 1:30 p.m.," the letter reiterated.
The Governor's direction to the Chief Minister and the Speaker earlier was in response to a written representation to him by a delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators that the House proceedings for vote of confidence have been stalled and consequently adjourned without reaching any finality.
"This cannot go on in a democratic set-up governed by the Constitution," Vala said in the letter.
Referring to the BJP's complaint to him that the government was dragging the trust vote, the Governor said even as the head of the state he had not intervened in the issue, as the Assembly was already called and the trust vote moved.
"The fact that 15 legislators who resigned and two members who withdrew support to the government have met me and other attendant circumstances do prime facie indicate that you have lost majority or confidence of the House," Vala recalled on the occasion.
Noting that of the 117 members of the ruling Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress allies, if 15 of them were to move away, Vala said their action would cast a serious doubt on the confidence in the government led by Kumaraswamy.
"It is well settled that the Chief Minister and his ministry are expected to always enjoy and maintain the confidence of the House," added the letter.
Upping the ante, about 100 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators are sleeping in the Karnataka Assembly from Thursday night to protest against the delay in taking the floor test by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on the confidence motion he moved on Thursday to prove that his Congress-JD-S coalition government has majority.
"About 100 of our MLAs are on an overnight stay in the Assembly precincts after Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar abruptly adjourned the House without the trust vote despite Governor Vajubhai Vala directing the latter to hold it by the end of the day7," party's state unit spokesman G. Madhusudan told IANS.
The legislators had 'masala dosa' and curd rice for supper in the assembly lounges. Many went to sleep early after a long day in the House due to heated exchanges and acrimonious scenes in the House, as the ruling combine was reportedly delayed in going through the crucial vote.
Though most of the party lawmakers have been staying at a resort on the city's northwest suburb since July 12 when the 10-day monsoon session began, they are overnight staying to ensure the floor test is conducted on Friday by 1.30 p.m. as Vala directed the Chief Minster.
As many of them didn't have pillows and bedsheets, some rebels bought them from nearby shops to sleep on the floor on bedsheets and rest their heads on soft pillows for a sound sleep.
"We will not budge from the Assembly till the confidence motion is put to vote for the floor test to prove the ruling allies have the majority of the House," a BJP lawmaker told IANS on the condition of anonymity.
Some of the legislators watched a movie on TV sets in the lobby where they were shown before going to sleep, others were in serious discussions over the strategy to be adopted for the Friday trust vote.
The legislators have decided to go back to resort or their rooms in the adjacent Legislature Home on early Friday and return to the Assembly for the session from 11 a.m. to resume the inconclusive debate on the motion.
With the Governor writing to the Chief Minister to prove majority in the House by 1.30 p.m. on Friday, uncertainty continues to dog the legislators.