Amid high drama, Karnataka Legislative Assembly speaker KG Bopaiah on Tuesday night accepted the resignation of 12 rebel BJP MLAs identified with BS Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janata Party but it posed no immediate threat to the Jagadish Shettar Ministry.
Thirteen MLAs met the speaker in his office at Vidhan Soudha, the state secretariat, this morning and tendered their resignations from the assembly membership in person, several hours after which they were accepted.
The resignation of Vittala Katakadonda was not accepted for technical reasons, sources in the speaker's office said as the drama played out a day after the BJP submitted through two of his MLAs a petition to the Speaker's office seeking disqualification of the 12 MLAs for 'anti-party' activities.
The development coming ahead of the budget session of the legislature beginning on February 4, would not upset the six-month-old Shettar ministry as the effective strength of the 224-member House has been reduced with 12 more seats falling vacant in addition to the two earlier.
With the acceptance of resignation of 12 MLAs, the BJP now has a strength of 105, Congress 71, JDS 26, independents seven (one of whom is supporting the government and is in the Ministry) and the Speaker.
After the resignations were submitted in the morning, the assembly secretary P Omprakasha issued a statement announcing acceptance of resignation of one of the MLAs, Thippeswamy, even as suspense remained over the fate of others'.
The remaining 12 MLAs stayed put in the Speaker's office insisting that their resignations be accepted. One of them, B P Harish, told reporters that the speaker was seeking legal opinion with regard to their resignations.
Harish said the 12 MLAs would resort to dharna, even continuing in the night, and would not leave the speaker's chamber till the resignations were accepted.
The speaker's office let it be known that it is consulting legal experts in the Lok Sabha secretariat with regard to the resignation letters.
Former minister Shobha Karandlaje said they had to wait for 11 hours before the speaker accepted the resignations. "..very sad what the government did. Whole government is controlling the speaker. It's an unhealthy development".
Those who tendered resignations to their assembly membership today are: CM Udasi, Shobha Karandlaje, BP Harish, Chandrappa, SI Chikkangoudar, Nehru Olekar, Sunil Vallyapure, Vittal Katakadonda, G Shivanna, H Halappa, Basavaraj Patil Attur, Thippeswamy and Suresh Gowda Patil.
KJP sources said another BJP MLA, Tarikere Suresh, who had also announced his resignation on January 23, was away in the pilgrim town of Shirdi and could not personally submit the papers today.
The rebel MLAs had tried to submit their resignation on Saturday but in vain as the speaker was not in station, upset over which they rushed to the Raj Bhavan and submitted their letters to governor HR Bhardwaj who, however, said it was in the domain of the presiding officer.