A day after BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa took oath as Karnataka chief minister, much to the dismay of the JD(S)-Congress combine, the Supreme Court directed a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm on Saturday.
The apex court announced the floor test after hearing Congress-JD(S) plea against the Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala inviting the BJP to form the government in the southern state.
"Let the House decide and the best course would be floor test," a three-judge bench headed by Justice AK Sikri said. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the chief minister, had sought time till Monday for the floor test but the bench, also comprising Justices SA Bobde and Ashok Bhushan, ordered it for Saturday, PTI reports.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that the Supreme Court's order vindicated the party's stand that Vala acted unconstitutionally. "Today’s Supreme Court order, vindicates our stand that Governor Vala acted unconstitutionally. The BJP’s bluff that it will form the government, even without the numbers, has been called out by the court," he tweeted. "Stopped legally, they will now try money and muscle, to steal the mandate," Gandhi added in the tweet.
Today’s Supreme Court order, vindicates our stand that Governor Vala acted unconstitutionally.
The BJP’s bluff that it will form the Govt., even without the numbers, has been called out by the court.
Stopped legally, they will now try money & muscle, to steal the mandate.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa that they were confident that they will prove full majority. "Will discuss with chief secretary and call for Assembly session tomorrow. We are 100 percent confident that we will prove full majority," he said.
Congress leader and former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar applauded the decision, saying that the judgement should be celebrated. "Supreme Court verdict has upheld Constitutional morality and democracy. It's a judgement that should be celebrated. The faith of people in the wisdom of the Supreme Court is vindicated once again," he said to ANI.
SC verdict has upheld constitutional morality&democracy. It's a judgement that should be celebrated. Faith of people in wisdom of SC is vindicated once again. It's set back for a party that wanted to usurp power:Ashwani Kumar,Congress on SC directing floor test in K'taka Assembly pic.twitter.com/2srcDuygg0 — ANI (@ANI) May 18, 2018
"It's a set back for a party that wanted to usurp power," he added, taking a jibe at the BJP.
Senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that the Supreme Court delivered a "historic verdict" on the matter. "SC has delivered a historic verdict, many important directions have been given, one of them being that floor test has to be conducted at 4 pm tomorrow under a protem speaker," he said to the press. "The Supreme Court also said that oath should be administered to all MLAs before the floor test tomorrow and BS Yeddyurappa cannot take any policy decisions until tomorrow," he added.
Singhvi also announced that the court also said a member of the Anglo-Indian community cannot be nominated. He was referring to the Congress-JD(S) combine moving the Supreme Court against the Karnataka governor's alleged move to nominate an Anglo-Indian member to the Assembly, saying it should not be done till the floor test in the House.
BJP's Shobha Karandlaje also welcomed the court's decision, exuding confidence that the party will be able to prove its majority. "We welcome the Supreme Court's order. We will prove majority on the floor of the House tomorrow, we are ready for floor test," she said to ANI.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar also echoed this confidence, tweeting, "BJP is ready and confident of winning trust vote in Karnataka. We will prove our majority on the floor of the House."
AAP leader Ashutosh exclaimed on Twitter that the BJP was not ready for Saturday's floor test. "BJP not ready for tomorrow floor test? Modi and Amit Shah exposed!" he said. He added that Vala should ask himself whether he should continue as the governor. "Is it the end of the road for Modi? Just think," he concluded about the court's decision.
BJP's Karnataka unit asserted that it would sail through the floor test, telling those who were doubting them to wait and watch. "We were ready to prove majority from the word go. We have more than the required number to sail through the floor test. We are looking forward to proving our mandate tomorrow. To all those doubting the strength of our mandate, we just have one thing to say: Wait and watch," the party tweeted.
Yeddyurappa has to prove a majority in the Karnataka Assembly, and the Congress and JD(S) have alleged that the BJP is trying to poach their newly elected lawmakers, as it has fallen short of eight seats to the 112 halfway mark in the Lower House.
The JD(S) had won 38 seats along with its ally BSP, while the Congress won 78 seats, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party winning 104 seats in the 12 May Assembly election.
The Congress-JD(S) stitching up a hasty post-poll alliance approached the governor on Tuesday to form the government, as also did the BJP. But the governor Valla invited Yeddyurappa to form the government and prove within 15 days that he has a majority in the Legislative Assembly.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: May 18, 2018 15:40 PM