Karnataka Floor Test Tomorrow LATEST UPDATES: The Congress has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing once again after Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala appointed BJP's Virajpet MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker. Congress has requested an urgent hearing of the matter but the CJI is yet to take a call on the matter.
Governor Vaju Bhai Vala has appointed KG Bopaiah of the BJP as the pro tem speaker to oversee the floor test. The Congress strongly objected to his appointment and said that the Supreme Court it self had criticised his 'partisan' conduct in the past during another floor test faced by the same chief minister.
Addressing a press conference, BJP's Sambit Patra said that anticipating good show, the Congress party had drafted a petition requesting SC to order that the single-largest party must be called. But when it figured that forging an alliance with JD(S) is the only way for it to come to power, it changed the case.
The Congress trained its guns on Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday for inviting BS Yeddyurappa to form the government in spite of the Congress-JD(S) combine “having the numbers”. "The governor is listening to Shah & Modi instead of following the Constitution. What the Governor did was a murder of democracy. Yeddyurappa had asked for seven days but Governor gave him 15 days to prove majority! It shows clear collusion with BJP," said Siddaramaiah.
Earlier, in a historic decision, the Supreme Court's three-judge bench ruled that the floor test, to prove majority, will be held tomorrow (Saturday) at 4 pm in Karnataka's Vidhan Soudha. The Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Sikri, said that the Pro tem Speaker will decide the mode of the floor test. Further, the apex court ruled against secret ballot as suggested by KK Venugopal who was apppearing for BJP. The Supreme Court also ruled that the government shall not nominate the Anglo Indian Representative. And finally that the government cannot take any major policy decisions till the floor test is concluded.
The BJP and the Congress, both, showed confidence of winning the floor test. BJP's Karnataka unit tweeted: "Following SC's order for floor test tomorrow at 4 PM, we want to make one thing very clear. We are absolutely sure of our numbers and will decisively prove our majority on the floor of the house. If people's mandate has to be vindicated again, so be it. Bring it on!"
In a press briefing following the Supreme Court order, former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said, "Governor mustnt favour any party and any decision he takes shouldn't be biased. Bunch of us had gone to the Governor and told him that BJP doesn't have the numbers. Karnataka did not vote for BJP."
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine in Karnataka against the decision of Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form the government. Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi produced the letter by Yeddyurappa to the governor. “I have the support of others and requisite majority,” reads BSY's letter.
Rohatgi said there was no need to name the MLAs supporting BJP. The SC told Rohatgi while Yeddyurappa’s letter didn't disclose names of MLAs, the other side gave letter signed by MLAs. “Ultimately it is the number game and the Governor needs to see which aide has the number,” the SC said. Rohatgi insisted that there was an “unholy alliance” between the Congress and the JD(S). Earlier, sources said the Congress and the JD(S), fearing their MLAs being poached by the BJP, moved their MLAs out of Karnataka on Thursday night. Sources said except two Congress MLA s all have gone to Hyderabad. All 38 JD(S) MLAs and two Independents are also in the city. Total 116 MLAs are there.
Fearing MLA poaching by the BJP, the Congress and JDS moved their MLAs out of Karnataka on Thursday night. The Congress MLAs were taken to Hyderabad and JD(S) members were shifted to Kochi on buses, sources said. Earlier, all MLAs were expected to board a chartered plane from Mysore or Bangalore to Cochin in Left-ruled Kerela, but the permission for the same was denied.
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy alleged that the DGCA had not permitted the flight to take off from Bengaluru. Meanwhile, in Delhi, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will on Friday hear a petition filed by the Congress-JD(S) combine in Karnataka against the decision of Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form the government.
The BJP, which won 104 seats, emerged as the single largest party in the state Assembly. During the high-voltage hearing, which lasted from 2.11 am to 5.28 am, the top court made it clear that the swearing-in and government formation would be subject to the final outcome of the case. The court directed the Centre to place before it two communications sent by Yeddyurappa to the Governor in which he had staked claim to form government, saying their perusal was necessary to decide the case. It issued notices to Karnataka government and Yeddyurappa seeking their replies on the plea filed by Congress-JD (S) combine and posted the matter for Friday.
BS Yeddyurappa was sworn-in as the chief minister of Karnataka after the Supreme Court refused to stay Governor's decision. However, the top court has kept it subject to the case’s outcome. Governor Vajubhai Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to Yeddyurappa at the Raj Bhavan amid tight security. The beleaguered Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders, however, protested against the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa and termed the governor's decision "unconstitutional".
File image of BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa. AP
"Constitutionally, we (JD(S) and Congress) should have been given the chance to form the government as we together have the majority in the Assembly. The governor's decision to invite the BJP to form the government is against the Constitution," state unit Congress chief G Parameshwara told reporters in Bengaluru.
Earlier, a three-judge bench of the apex court rejected a joint writ petition, filed by the Congress and the JD(S) on Wednesday night, to halt the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as the chief minister at a special pre-dawn hearing. The top court, however, said the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa was subject to the final outcome of the matter before it and posted the case for further hearing at 10.30 am on Friday.
The bench, headed by Justice AK Sikri, also sought the letter Yeddyurappa wrote to the governor on Wednesday, informing him about his election as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislature party leader in Karnataka.
Vala on Wednesday night invited Yeddyurappa to form the government and prove within 15 days that he had a majority in the Legislative Assembly.
Although the BJP emerged as the single-largest party winning 104 seats in the 12 May assembly election, it fell short of eight seats from the 112-halfway mark in the Lower House, in which the Congress trailed behind with 78 wins and the regional JD(S) 37 seats.
This is the third time Yeddyurappa took oath as the state chief minister, a decade after he became the BJP's first chief minister in south India in May 2008 when the party came to power for the first time in the southern state. Among the Congress leaders who protested Yeddyurappa's swearing-in were the former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah, party General Secretary KC Venugopal and senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. "Yeddyurappa first needs to furnish the list proving his majority in the House," Siddaramaiah told reporters.
JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda also joined the protest, while his son and JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy attacked the Modi government for "demolishing" democracy. "Modi government wants to demolish democracy by targeting the Opposition parties. Even when the JD(S) and the Congress together have the majority, we weren't invited by the governor to form the government," lamented Kumaraswamy, a former chief minister.
In a related development, the Congress and the JD(S) have lodged their newly-elected legislators at a resort on the city's outskirts, ostensibly to prevent them being poached by the BJP, which they alleged was indulging in "horse trading" to win over their MLAs. "We have a need to safeguard our MLAs from poaching by the BJP, which is why they have been moved to a resort on the city outskirts," Kumaraswamy told reporters in Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, the 'Karnataka effect' also led the Congress in Goa and the RJD in Bihar on Thursday to say that they would ask the governors of their states to give them a chance to form the government, the same way that Yeddyurappa was sworn-in in Karnataka as the leader of the single largest party.
The Congress-JD(S) combine also moved the Supreme Court against Vala'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. The interim application, filed this afternoon, is likely to be heard on Friday along with the main petition of the combine on which the apex court in the wee hours on Thursday refused to stay the swearing-in of BS Yeddyurappa as the chief minister of the state.
The Congress will also observe 'Save Democracy Day' across the country to protest Vala's "collusion with the BJP" and his "partisan" action of inviting Yeddyurappa to take oath in Karnataka.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: May 18, 2018 23:45 PM