Karnataka CM says his govt has absolute majority

Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj asked Shettar to prove his majority in the wake of 13 BJP legislators deciding to quit the assembly.

BANGALORE: Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar today met Governor HR Bhardwaj and said that he had assured him that his government has an absolute majority in the state assembly, despite 13 rebel legislators quitting.

"The governor brought to my notice the resignation of the 13 legislators. I have assured him that I have the majority and that there is no problem for the government," Shettar told reporters.

The chief minister also said that the governor has not asked him to prove the BJP majority.

Earlier in day, Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj said that he may ask Shettar to prove his majority in the wake of 13 BJP legislators deciding to quit the assembly.

"I have summoned records from the assembly (on the strength of the parties) and if necessary will direct the chief minister to prove majority," Bhardwaj told IANS.

The state legislature is meeting for the budget session Feb 4. Shettar wants to present the 2013-14 budget Feb 8.

The 13 legislators are loyal to Bharatiya Janata Party's former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and are quitting the assembly as part of a plan to prevent Shettar from presenting the budget.

Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP and the assembly Nov 30 to head the Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), wants Shettar's minister to resign and not go in for the budget session as assembly elections are due in May.

Bhardwaj said he asked the government to ensure early return of Speaker K.G. Bopaiah, whose whereabouts since Wednesday have been a mystery.

Bhardwaj's move follows the 13 BJP rebels petitioning him Wednesday to intervene and ensure the speaker accepts their resignation immediately.

The legislators sought Bhardwaj's intervention as the speaker was not present in his office when they went there to submit their resignation letters Wednesday.

The rebels claim that they had informed the speaker Tuesday that they would meet him Wednesday and he had told them that he would be in office.

CM Udasi and Shobha Karandlaje are among the 13 MLAs who quit the Shettar ministry Wednesday.

The resignation of the 13 legislators, which the speaker has no option but to accept, would bring down the BJP's strength to 105, including the speaker, in the 225-member assembly.

Of the 225, 224 are elected and one is a nominated member.

The effective strength of the assembly now is 223 as two -- Yeddyurappa and another BJP legislator Haladi Srinivas Shetty -- have quit.

The BJP has the support of one of the seven independent members who is a cabinet minister.

The party is said to be wooing the other six independents to back it.

The Congress has 71 members and the Janata Dal-Secular 26. The two parties are also opposing Shettar's move to present the budget.

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