Bengaluru, July 19 (IANS) The Karnataka Assembly was on Friday adjourned till Monday without a floor test despite Governor Vajubhai Vala extending the deadline he gave on Thursday to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy for proving his majority.
"The Assembly will reconvene on Monday to conclude the debate on the confidence motion the Chief Minister moved on Thursday to prove a majority," Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar told the legislators and adjourned the House after extending the day-long session by over two hours amid a ruckus.
Protesting the House adjournment to Monday, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members sought the floor test by midnight, saying members of the ruling Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) had debated the motion for two days and were deliberately delaying the trust vote, as they know they don't have a majority in the 225-member House.
Yielding to the treasury benches after Kumaraswamy, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Krishna Byre Gowda assured the House that the ruling combine would conclude the debate on Monday for the floor test, the Speaker reluctantly agreed to adjourn the session to Monday.
"There will be no more adjournments and extension for the floor test which will be held on Monday after the debate ends," Kumar told the lawmakers.
Earlier, senior BJP legislator Madhuswamy told the Speaker as 20 of their legislators abstained from the Assembly since Thursday, the ruling allies knew they don't have the numbers to prove a majority.
Of the 20 legislators, 12 are from Congress, three of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) who resigned, two Congress who are unwell and in hospitals, two are independents and one is from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Though the two independents switched loyalties and expressed support to the BJP, they were conspicuously absent in the Assembly since it was convened on July 12 for the 10-day monsoon session to pass the state budget for fiscal year 2019-20.
"As the Assembly strength is reduced by 20 to 205 from 225, with 103 as the halfway mark for a simple majority, the defeat of the motion is certain if the ruling combine members don't turn up for the trust vote on Monday," asserted Madhuswamy.
The Congress' strength was reduced to 65 from 79, including the Speaker, JD-S to 34 from 37 and their combined strength to 99.
In contrast, the BJP has 105 of its own and a total of 107 with the support of the two independents.
Earlier in the day, the Governor directed the Chief Minister to prove the majority by 6 p.m. after the 1:30 p.m. deadline he set on Thursday night lapsed, as discussions on the motion continued till the Speaker adjourned the House till 3 p.m. for lunch.
In response to the demand of the ruling lawmakers to allow them to participate in the discussions, the Speaker said he would extend the session for a couple of hours, but pleaded with them to end the debate by Friday and conduct the floor test.
Resuming the inconclusive debate on the motion, stalled on Thursday for six times due to ruckus between the lawmakers of the ruling allies and the BJP, Kumaraswamy said it was for the Speaker to decide on the Governor's order as to when he should prove the majority in the House.
"It is not for me to decide by when I should prove the majority. It is the Speaker who is the custodian of the House and has the supreme authority to decide how the session should be conducted," said Kumaraswamy.
Intervening in the debate, Byre Gowda said the Governor cannot give such an order on the motion which was being debated by the ruling parties and the opposition members.
"We fail to understand how the Governor could direct the Chief Minister to prove majority in a limited timeframe without completing the debate by both sides and hearing the reply on it by the Chief Minister as mentioned in the rule book," said Gowda.
A restive BJP told the Speaker not to allow the ruling combine to further delay the floor test as there was no stay on it from the Supreme Court on the trial of strength.
Rejecting the BJP's demand, ruling lawmakers asked the Governor to go back and accused him of being a BJP agent who was converting the Raj Bhavan into a BJP office.
By Arun Kejriwal
The short-truncated trading week ended with losses but had hope and expectations on Friday. Dow Jones was a roller coaster this week and global events do make one nervous. BSESENSEX in three trading days closed with losses of 231.58 points or 0.62 per cent at 37,350.33 points while NIFTY lost 61.85 points or 0.56 per cent to close at 11,047.80 points. The broader markets saw BSE100, BSE200 and BSE500 lose 0.72 per cent, 0.67 per cent and 0.69 per cent respectively. BSEMIDCAP was down 1.31 per cent while BSESMALLCAP was down 0.90 per cent.
The week began on Tuesday after a religious holiday on Monday and was down sharply. This was followed by a recovery on Wednesday. Thursday markets were closed for India's Independence Day and they were flat with an upward bias on Friday.
Dow Jones was all over the place last week. The net result was a weekly loss of 401.43 points or 1.53 per cent at 25,886.01 points. The daily movement was an eye opener and indicates the amount of nervousness. Monday saw a loss of 390 points, Tuesday a gain of 382 points, Wednesday a sharp fall of 800 points, Thursday and Friday saw gains of 100 and 307 points respectively.
Total gains during the week were 789 points while losses were 1,190. Total movement during the week was 1,979 points. This is effectively a change of 395 points per day or 1.52 per cent per day. Just to put in perspective, while we had a short and volatile week, the total movement in three days on the BSESENSEX was 1,015 points (loss of 623 points and gain of 392 points) or 338 points daily average. This becomes a daily change of 0.90 per cent.
The immediate cause of concern in US was yet another round of duty being imposed on Chinese imports into the US. This seems to have become never ending and is getting markets really worried. To add to this is tension in Hong Kong where civil strife is on and the city has been locked down. China has moved in military to Shenzhen and there could be large-scale violence in the immediate near term. There is a slowdown looming large and this is certainly not good news for the markets.
Back home, after having meetings with various stakeholders, the Finance Minister had detailed meetings within the Ministry and also the PMO. No public outcome is yet available but is expected once Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns from Bhutan on Sunday. Expect some announcement on this subject on Monday or Tuesday.
The week ahead would see the listing of two IPOs on Monday and Tuesday. Monday would see the issue from Spandana Sphoorty Financial Ltd list. The issue was subscribed 1.05 times with the help of QIB portion which was subscribed 3.11 times. HNI and Retail was undersubscribed at 0.55 times and 0.09 times respectively. With little hangover of selling pressure the share should be able to sustain itself but one should not be surprised if the shares trade below the issue price.
Tuesday would see the shares of Sterling and Wilson Solar Ltd list. The company had tapped the markets with its offer for sale of Rs 3,125 crore which saw the issue to be subscribed. The QIB portion ensured that the issue scraped through. HNI portion was subscribed 0.89 times and Retail portion 0.30 times. Looking at market conditions and the response, the share is likely to be under pressure unless some QIB's decide otherwise.
In short, both issues are not expected to have any fireworks.
Markets are experiencing turbulence and tough conditions currently. This is with trade wars between China and the US continuing for almost nine months, civil unrest in Hong Kong, Iran and the middle East, Europe and Brexit. To add to this, we have a slowdown which seems to be gaining momentum. Oil prices which seem to have steadied are again under pressure.
Towards the end of June, in India it looked like this would be a monsoon starved year. By beginning of August, the scenario has changed completely and instead of a drought we have floods affecting about a third of the country. It appears the rain gods have rained with a vengeance this time.
In such a scenario, one has to depend on local cues and hope that issues on the domestic front are sorted out soon. FPI issue of surcharge, some sort of one-time relief for auto sector and retail sector will go a long way. Expect good tidings on Monday or Tuesday. Till then keep you fingers crossed and hope for the best.
(Arun Kejriwal is the founder of Kejriwal Research and Investment Services. The views expressed are personal.)