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Bangalore, Feb 1: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday ordered issue of notice to Chief Minister-designate H D Kumaraswamy and 35 JD-S rebel MLAs and Speaker Krishna on a petition praying for a direction to the presiding officer of the house to disqualify them from the assembly membership and challenging Kumaraswamy's recognition as JD-S legislature party leader.

Justice Ajit N Gunjal also directed the government advocate to take notice on behalf of the state and referred the matter to a Division Bench.

The petitioners, three MLAs, also sought a direction to the Speaker to dispose of their petitions before him seeking disqualification of Kumaraswamy and the rebel JD-S MLAs and to the MLAs not to take part in the assembly proceedings and not to hold any remunerative political post.

Vatal Nagaraj (Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha), G V Srirama Reddy (CPI-M) and S Rajendran (RPI) contended that the respondent MLAs did not have the authority of JD-S to act in the manner they did on January 18, 2006 when they withdrew support to the Dharam Singh government and staked claim to form a government with BJP.

They also argued that they had filed a petition before the Speaker seeking disqualifiation of rebel JD-S MLAs but he had not passed suitable orders as he had assured them. Instead, the Speaker passed orders recognising Kumaraswamy as the JD-S legislature party leader which was "arbitrary."

It was also stated in the petition that Kumaraswamy with the BJPs support was likely to take the oath on February three.

The Advocate General B T Parthasarathy, appearing on behalf of the state, submitted that the petition was not maintainable "at this stage" and the action of the Speaker could not be questioned in the court.

He also told the court that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the petition and it was liable to be dismissed.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy, remaining firm on forming a coalition government with BJP and setting at rest speculations about it, categorically said a two-member ministry led by him would take the oath on February 3, 2006.

"There is no question of going back now having come so far," Kumaraswamy, who is said to be under severe pressure from his father JD-S supremo H D Deve Gowda, to retrace his steps, asserted, ruling out any change of heart on his part.

"Myself and BJP leader B S Yediyurappa will take oath on February 3," Kumaraswamy told reporters after he cancelled his trip to New Delhi to meet the top BJP leadership, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani, fuelling speculations about the swearing in on February 3, 2006.

Kumaraswamy said he could not undertake the Delhi trip due to exertion and asked the media not to read "meanings into it."

He said he would prove his majority on the floor of the house on February 8, 2006 in accordance with the directive of Governor T N Chaturvedi to seek vote of confidence within eight days of ascension of office.

The JD-S rebel group was, however, undecided on issuing a whip to its MLAs.


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