Karnataka floor test: Opposition hoping for repeat of 'Ram Lal-NTR' moment, draws parallels with Shibu Soren dismissal

Opposition parties have been gunning for the recall of Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala ever since he invited BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the government, despite lacking majority after a fractured mandate in the state.

The Congress, which in alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) and had made a bid to form the government in the state, referred to a 2011 tweet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the recall of the then Karnataka governor and said, "We agree".

 Karnataka floor test: Opposition hoping for repeat of Ram Lal-NTR moment, draws parallels with Shibu Soren dismissal

File image of former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and JD(S) president HD Kumaraswamy. PTI

"Governor of Karnataka is bent upon destroying India's federal structure, urged PM to ask the President to recall him," Modi, who was then the Gujarat chief minister, had tweeted on 19 May, 2011.

Modi and his BJP had sought the recall of the then governor, HR Bhardwaj, alleging that he was "harassing" the BJP-led state government and "acting in a partisan manner".

In the same vein, Yeddyurappa's swearing in as the chief minister of Karnataka for a second time, after an overnight high-voltage legal battle in the Supreme Court, has not gone down well with the principal Opposition party Congress.

The Opposition parties will be hoping to turn Vala's invite to Yeddyurappa into a 'Ram Lal-II moment' and kick-start a combined movement against the BJP and the Modi regime.

Lal was governor of the TDP-ruled Andhra Pradesh in 1984. He had unceremoniously dismissed NT Rama Rao’s ministry and installed ‘rebel’ N Bhaskara Rao.

Opposition hoping for repeat of NTR saga

In July 1984, when NTR went to the United States to undergo a heart surgery, his then finance minister Rao formed a rival faction of the party. Despite lacking the numbers to hold a majority, Rao staked claim to the government and Lal obliged, administering an oath to Rao and granting him time to prove his majority.

But when the resilient NTR returned, he forced then prime minister Indira Gandhi to reverse the decision and allow the reinstatement of the Telugu Desam Party leader at the helm.

Though the current case is different from what happened in 1984, as this Economic Times report points out, Opposition parties see a similar opening to 'replay' a joint fight against the Centre. "They feel irrespective of what happens to the Yeddyurappa government, they will have a political plank against the Centre that has been 'manipulating electoral mandate from state to state,'" the report said.

Congress-JDS combine has already reached out to BSP’s Mayawati, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, Trinamool’s Mamata Banerjee, SP’s Mulayam-Akhilesh, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, JDU rebel Sharad Yadav and CPI’s Sudhakar Reddy-D Raja, and will be hoping to counter the Centre in a manner similar to 1984.

Parallels to Soren

In March 2005, after the Jharkhand Assembly elections, NDA had the support of 41 MLAs including five independents in the 80-member Assembly and staked claim to form the government. However, governor Syed Sibte Razi invited Shibu Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha to form the government.

The matter went to the Supreme Court and it ordered Soren to prove his majority within two days, just like in the case of Yeddyurappa. Soren failed to do so and later Arjun Munda of the BJP became the chief minister and subsequently proved his majority in the house.

The Congress-led Opposition would be hoping that Yeddyurappa sees a similar fate when the floor test finally happens at 4 pm on Saturday, as they feel that the whole exercise is BJP's "irrational insistence" on forming the government.

Yeddyurappa now has to prove a majority in the Karnataka Assembly. Meanwhile, 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 invited Yeddyurappa to form the government and prove that he has a majority in the Legislative Assembly.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: May 18, 2018 13:49:51 IST

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