BS Yediyurappa is new Karnataka CM: Winning Monday's floor test, picking new Cabinet; challenges ahead for BJP

BJP leader BS Yediyurappa took oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka for the fourth time on Friday evening at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.

In a surprise move on Friday morning, Yediyurappa had staked claim to form the new government and requested Governor Vajubhai Vala to allow him to take oath as the new chief minister on Friday itself.

 BS Yediyurappa is new Karnataka CM: Winning Mondays floor test, picking new Cabinet; challenges ahead for BJP

BS Yeddyurappa and other BJP MLAs flash victory sign. Twitter@BJP4Karnataka

The decision spurred Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) to slam the BJP government at the Centre for forcefully bending constitutional provisions to overthrow non-BJP state governments.

The development comes three days after the JD(S)-Congress coalition government lost a trust vote on the floor of the state legislative Assembly. BJP's delay in making the move had spurred speculation that the state might be heading towards a period of President's Rule. Yediyurappa's move took everyone by surprise since the BJP Legislature Party didn't formally elect him as the leader yet.

However, Yediyurappa countered the allegations by saying that he already is the leader of the Karnataka BJP Legislature Party, and there is no need for the party to elect a new leader.

Challenges for the new Karnataka CM

Proving the majority in the Karnataka Assembly is one of the major challenges that Yediyurappa is likely to face while forming the new government. Winning the bypoll seats vacated by the resignation of rebel Congress-JD(S) MLAs and maintaining balance while creating the new cabinet are two other challenges which might pose trouble for the chief minister.

Proving majority in Monday's Floor Test

If reports are to be believed, the floor test for Yediyurappa to prove his government's majority in Karnataka Assembly will be held on 29 July (Monday). Congress and JD(S) have slammed the BJP leadership (both state and central) for "subverting democracy". Claiming that those MLAs who tendered their resignations still remain part of the Congress-JD(S) combine, senior Congress leader VS Ugrappa said that BJP cannot possibly form the government since they are seven MLAs short of the magic number.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah took to Twitter and slammed Yediyurappa and the state BJP for converting the Karnataka Assembly into saffron party's "experimental lab" and also questioned how was the BJP leader planning on forming the new government without a majority."In no way, BJP can form the govt if the constitution is followed. This only proves that BJP has no belief in the democratic values,' he said in a tweet. He also said Karnataka has become "an experimental lab of the BJP."

Karnataka Congress also condemned the saffron party for butchering the parliamentary democracy in Karnataka.

Reiterating the points made by the Karnataka Congress and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, Janata Dal (Secular) also lashed out at the BJP for using unconstitutional means to come to power.

"#HorseTradingParty of India has "claimed" stake to form govt even though they don't meet the magic number 112. Today marks one of the darkest days in the history of Karnataka. Democracy is dying a slow death because of BJP's unconstitutional practices." the official Twitter account of JD(S) tweeted.
Elaborating the point further, the party said in an Assembly of 222, the magic number to form the government is 112. Wondering how was BJP invited to form the government by the Governor since the party has claimed support of only 105 legislators (still seven MLAs short of the magic number), the party said that it was an 'un-democratic' decision on the part of the Governor.

Winning the bypolls

Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar on Thursday had disqualified three Congress-JD(S) MLAs under the anti-defection law. The disqualified MLAs cannot contest elections until the end of the current assembly session in 2023.

The anti-defection law forbids legislators from skipping voting in the House when the party has issued whip to that effect. All 12 rebel MLAs from Congress had skipped trust vote despite a whip from Congress Legislative Party chief DK Shivakumar.

Speaker Ramesh Kumar had disqualified Congress MLAs R Shankar, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Mahesh Kumathalli.

Hence there are three vacant seats which are on up for grabs. Winning these seats will help BJP increase their tally in obtaining the magic number 112 to claim stake.

There is also a view that the BJP should go for fresh Assembly polls in the state, seeking a clear majority but many leaders feel that the party should go ahead and stake claim for forming the government.

Formation of the new Karnataka Cabinet

With his current government comprising leaders from the BJP, Congress and the JD(S), Yediyurappa has to play a balancing act by ensuring that those within the party are not sidelined, while also accommodating the rebel Congress-JD(S) legislators, whose resignation led to the collapse of the coalition government and helped the BJP to come to power.

As the BJP looked to the central leadership to take a shot at government formation, the BJP camp had held internal meetings chaired by Yediyurappa, who is waiting in the wings for a fourth term as chief minister. Though the saffron party had the majority in Tuesday's trust vote,  Speaker Ramesh Kumar disqualified three rebel MLAs while he is yet to take a decision on the resignations of the other 15 rebel MLAs.

Technically the rebels MLAs are still members of the state Assembly and will be allowed to vote when the BJP has to prove its numbers. As reports claimed, rebel MLAs will most likely return to Bengaluru after Yediyurappa has proved his government's majority on the floor of the House.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jul 26, 2019 22:39:13 IST