Newly appointed Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa today said that he doesn’t need 15 days granted to him by the Governor to prove majority. “I don’t need 15 days to prove my majority… I am keen to do it as soon as possible,” Yeddyurappa said addressing party workers this evening hours after taking oath of office as the new Karnataka CM. Calling upon MLAs to vote as per their “conscience”, Yeddyurappa urged legislators to uphold the people’s mandate and also thanked all the BJP rank anf file for their support. The CM also said that he will ensure that the respect of candidates who won from the party ticket is maintained.
The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) on Wednesday evening moved the Supreme Court challenging Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s invitation to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the government. Terming the Governor’s decision ‘unconstitutional’, the Congress and JD(S) who forged a post-poll alliance after a hung assembly verdict to claim a majority of 116 members, sought a stay on his invitation. But the party suffered a blow when the Supreme Court refused to stay the Governor’s decision and paved the way for BS Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in. At 9 am, the Governor administered the oath of office and secrecy to BSY.
Here’s what happened so far:
1. The drama began when TV news channels started reporting that the Governor has invited BS Yeddyurappa to form the government. The Karnataka unit of the BJP at 8:31 pm tweeted that Yeddyurappa will be sworn-in at 9:30 am at Raj Bhavan. However, the tweet was deleted by the party later and at 9 pm, it tweeted the same message but the word ‘tomorrow’ was missing. Within minutes, BJP leader Basavaraj Bomma told ANI that an official communication to form the government from the Raj Bhavan has been received by the party. The ceremony will be held at 9 am at the Raj Bhavan, he confirmed, adding that the Governor has given 15 days time to prove majority on the floor of the House.
2. The Congress and JD(S) then moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on Yeddyurappa swearing-in. The petition was admitted by the top court which accorded an urgent hearing. The Registrar went to CJI Dipak Misra residence with the petition who convened a three-judge special bench of Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan at odd hours to hear the petition.
3. The hearing began at 2:11 am. Senior Congress leader and noted lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi urged the bench to stay the swearing-in. He cited that the BJP has 104 MLAs and despite this, the Governor invited BS Yeddyurappa for form the government in an ‘unconstitutional manner’. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for three BJP MLAs — Govind M Karjol, C M Udasi and Basavaraj Bommai — countered the Congress’ arguments and said that since the BJP is the single largest party, it should be given a chance first. The Union of India (Governor) was being represented by senior lawyer Tushar Mehta.
4. During the course of three hour long hearing, Singhvi urged the bench to stay or defer the hearing till 4:30 pm. But the Supreme Court after appeared unwilling to restrain the swearing-in. Counsel of the BJP MLAs insisted that the Governor’s decision can’t be put on hold. Later, the court made it clear that as far as swearing-in is concerned, “we are not restraining it, but we are making it subject to the outcome of the case.” Singhvi in his argument also noted that the BJP has been given 15 days time to prove majority which is enough for poaching of MLAs.
5. Singhvi said that Yeddyurappa has claimed that the letters submitted by him to the Governor say he enjoys the support of 111 MLAs but the party has won 104 seats. To this, the court said that it wants to see a copy of these letters (dated May 15 and 16). The parties present inside the courtroom said that the copies of the letters are immediately not available. The court then said that it is necessary to pursue these letters before deciding the matter and asked Attorney General KK Venugopal, Centre and the BJP to produce them before it at the time of next hearing which will now resume on Friday at 10:30 am.
6. At 9 am, BS Yeddyurappa arrived at the Rav Bhavan where Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to him. Scores of BJP leaders including Union Ministers Ananth Kumar and Prakash Javadekar were present on the occasion. Several party leaders had also gathered outside the Raj Bhavan where they raised slogans like ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Modi-Modi’. After swearing-in, Yeddyurappa reached the Vidhan Soudha to take charge. Addressing the media, he expressed confidence that he will prove majority inside the Assembly an announced loan waiver for 1 lakh farmers. On the other hand, several Congress MLAs and senior Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, Siddaramaiah arrived near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Vidhan Soudha to protest against the swearing-in of BSY. They were later joined by Janata Sal (Secular) president HD Dewe Gowda.
7. The fight over the single pargest party in Karnataka given the opporutnity to form government has now reached Goa where BJP snatched victory from the Congress. The grand old party has now alleged that since it had emerged as the single largest party in last year’s assembly poll in the coastal state, it holds the right according to the current directives, to form the government. ANI reported that Congress’ Goa in-charge Chella Kumar will leave shortly for the state. He will hold a meeting with party leaders to chalk out the strategy and will meet Governor Mridula Sinha tomorrow to submit that the Congress should be invited to form the government. Quoting sources, ANI said that the Congress party is also ready to parade its MLAs before the Governor. The Congress has 17 MLAs in 40-member Assembly against BJP’s 13. The saffron party had forged a post-poll alliance with regional parties to form the government. The BJP government enjoys support from three MLAs each from the Goa Forward Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents.
8. Meanwhile, TV reports suggest that the Congress party will follow the same strategy in Meghalaya and Manipur to argue that it should be given the first preference to form the government. The assembly elections in Meghalaya and Manipur were held earlier this year and the Congress had emerged as the single largest party but the BJP with the help of regional parties formed the government. In Manipur, there are 60 seats. While the Congress had won 28 seats, the BJP was ranked second with 21 seats. The BJP formed the government with support of one LJP MLA and four each from Naga People’s Front and National Peoples Party. Likewise in Meghalaya, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 21 seats in 60-member Assembly. The BJP was ranked five with just 2 MLAs but the party stormed to power with the help of regional parties.
9. In Bihar also, the RJD of Lalu Prasad Yadav was had bagged 80 seats in 243-member House in 2015 assembly polls, thus becoming the single largest party. But the JD(U) which has 71 MLAs and BJP with 53 MLAs share the power. The alliance between the two was forged post-election when Nitish Kumar dissolved the Grand Alliance. Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav said that the party leaders will hold a day-long dharna against the murder of democracy in Karnataka tomorrow and demanded from Governor to remove the JD(U)-BJP alliance government and just like in Karnataka, invite the single largest party first to form the government.
10. On Thursday afternoon, the Congress and JD(S) have moved a fresh plea in the Supreme Court seeking issuance of an order to stop Governor Vajubhai Vala from appointing an Ando-Indian community member in the Assembly. The petition said that appointment should not be done before the trust vote. The Karnataka Legislative Assembly consists of 225-chair including one reserved for a representative from the Anglo-Indian community. The Governor has the right to nominate the person from Anglo-Indian community.