Bengaluru: All eyes are on the Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru, where B S Yeddyurappa faces his trust vote on Saturday, within two days of taking oath as Karnataka chief minister. The Supreme Court order of Friday asked him to complete the floor test before 4 pm. He will have to bow out if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fails to garner the 113 votes required for majority, while having won only 104.
If that happens, the governor will have to invite the next party or alliance that claims documentary evidence of a majority.
The procedure of the historic vote of confidence is as follows:
• A pro-tem (temporary) speaker will have to be elected first, to conduct the proceedings as the newly elected House does not have a presiding officer. The Cabinet – in this case the lone member, who is Yeddyurappa – will elect the pro-tem speaker and hand over the file to the governor, who will administer the oath of office to him.
• The government normally decides the timing of the Assembly gathering and the vote with the consent of the Governor, but in this case, the apex court has ordered a 4 pm deadline to complete the voting. The governor has to issue two notifications, one on the voting and the other on handing over all powers to the pro-tem speaker in the absence of the speaker.
• The pro-tem speaker will then conduct the election of speaker. Normally, the trust vote is held after that.
• As was done in Goa, there is also a provision for the pro-tem speaker to conduct the confidence vote without the election of a speaker, as the governor hands over all powers of the speaker to the interim presiding officer.
• The confidence motion is introduced as the first procedure of the vote-taking. As the leader of the party that claims majority, Yeddyurappa has to present the motion. Normally, the motion ends in a single line: 'The Cabinet led by Yeddyurappa seeks vote of confidence from this Assembly.'
• The voting then begins with the permission of the presiding officer. Each party would have issued a whip to its MLAs to ensure that votes are not leaked across the floor. Anyone violating the whip faces disqualification as per the anti-defection law. The majority will be decided by counting in only those who are qualified.
However, it is the speaker who decides on disqualification. There had been instances of the speaker dragging on a decision for years under political pressure. The member who has violated the anti-defection law thus escapes punishment.
• Yeddyurappa can continue as chief minister if he wins the trust vote. If he fails, the Congress-JD(S) combine will stake claim.
• The governor will then have to invite them. But if the alliance cannot prove majority later, political instability sets in. If government formation gets delayed too far, the president's rule or fresh election are the possibilities.