Karnataka polls 2018: Pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah 'dented and tainted', says Congress; likely to move SC over appointment

The Congress on Friday took strong objection to the appointment of “dented and tainted” BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker ahead of the floor test in Karnataka assembly

PTI May 18, 2018 19:44:52 IST
Karnataka polls 2018: Pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah 'dented and tainted', says Congress; likely to move SC over appointment

New Delhi:  The Congress on Friday took strong objection to the appointment of “dented and tainted” BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker ahead of the floor test in Karnataka assembly, and was likely to approach court against Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision.

Karnataka polls 2018 Pro tem speaker KG Bopaiah dented and tainted says Congress likely to move SC over appointment

File image of Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala. News18

Raising questions over Vala's move, Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the Governor should have had appointed the senior most MLA from the current assembly as the pro tem speaker as per constitutional conventions. According to the Congress, its eight-time MLA RV Deshpande is the senior most lawmaker in the assembly.

Surjewala said it was “utmost important” to follow this practice at a time when the BJP and Vala had “hijacked” and “encountered” democracy in the state and were “conspiring” to “forcibly” form a government led by BS Yeddyurappa in the state.

“Deshpande is the senior most MLA in the Karnataka assembly. Though Deshpande belongs to the Congress, MLAs from the opposition too have always sworn by his reputation and neutrality but they appointed a three-time MLA KG Bopaiah who is dented and tainted,” Surjewala said.

Surjewala said that Bopaiah, when the latter was assembly speaker in the state between 2009 and 2013, had allegedly violated democratic and constitutional norms to save the previous government of Yeddyurappa, who faced corruption charges then.

Considered close to Yeddyurappa, he had disqualified 11 disgruntled BJP and five Independent MLAs ahead of a trust vote to help the Yeddyurappa government in 2011.

Bopaiah's decision was upheld by the Karnataka High Court but overturned by the Supreme Court, which said he had acted in haste.

“He is the same Bopaiah who had disqualified those BJP MLAs who had exposed corruption of Yeddyurappa. The Supreme Court bench had said he did not believe in the Constitution, democracy. The SC had dismissed his orders (as speaker) with stinging strictures,” he added.

Earlier, another Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi too had raised questions over Bopaiah's appointment and pitched for Deshpande to play the role.

According to sources, the Congress is likely to challenge in court the appointment of Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker.

Top Congress leaders met here today soon after Vala appointed the BJP MLA as the pro tem speaker, and decided that the matter should be challenged in court, the sources said.

The Supreme Court today ordered a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 PM tomorrow, drastically slashing the 15-day window given by the Governor to BJP Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa to prove majority.

The BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, followed by the Congress with 78, JD(S) with 37 and three seats have gone to others in the 224-member Assembly where elections were held for 222 seats.

The majority mark is 112 seats and the post-poll alliance strength of the Congress-JD(S) combine, which claims to have 117 MLAs, has alleged foul play in the Governor inviting BJP to form the government.

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