Bengaluru: Never short of high-voltage drama, the Karnataka political scenario took a strange and sudden twist late in the night when Governor Vajubhal Vala invited BJP legislative party leader B S Yeddyurappa to take oath as chief minister on Thursday at 9 am. It was strange on two counts: the communique was not put out by the Raj Bhavan but the letter was released by the BJP; secondly, the Governor has given a very generous 15 days’ time to Yeddyurappa to prove his majority.
The Congress lost no time knocking at the doors of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court with party leader and legal expert Manu Singhvi requesting for an urgent hearing, preferably in the night itself. The JD(S)-Congress combine here fretted and fumed and slammed the move of the Governor calling it murder of democracy in darkness. An angry JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for double standards and said the 15 days given by the Governor is a clear indication that the BJP will ‘buy’ his MLAs. The Governor is within his rights to invite the leader of the largest single party, but the question is why at night time and why the tearing hurry. And, once again, why did the Raj Bhavan not release the communique?
The Governor seems to have taken the decision in the morning itself. The cat was let out of the bag by Yeddyurappa who had met the Governor in the morning. Soon after the meeting, Yeddyurappa confidently said he would be sworn in as CM on Thursday. Later, the BJP too jumped the gun and put out a tweet stating that BSY would take oath on Thursday at 9 am. The tweet was subsequently deleted.
Legal experts say that when a political situation like the one in Karnataka is fluid and uncertain, the leader invited to form a government should prove his majority in the shortest possible time, preferably within a week. This is to prevent horse-trading. In Karnataka, where political drama can change complexion by the minute, it is anybody’s guess as to what would happen in 15 days.
Later, addressing the media in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala call-ed the Governor’s move as murder of the Constitution and asserted that an illegal government will assume office in Bengaluru. BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai defended the governor saying that he had just replied to Yeddyurappa’s letter wherein he had said that he was the leader of the single largest party. The Governor was not bound to issue a communique. Bommai also said the Governor had consulted various legal experts before inviting Yeddyruappa.
But questions of protocol and propriety were raised as dignitaries like the Chief Justice, former chief ministers, etcetera, have to be formally invited for the swearing in. Do such invites go to them at midnight, wondered an expert. Earlier in the evening, the other chief ministerial candidate H D Kumaraswamy and former chief minister Siddarmaiah, backed by a bunch of 117 MLAs, marched to the Raj Bhavan bringing Bengaluru to a screeching and screaming halt. The Governor refused to meet the foot soldiers stating that the Raj Bhavan was no parade ground and allowed only the leaders to submit their claim.
Later, HDK claimed that he had the numbers and the unconditional support of the Congress. A nervous Siddaramaiah chose to remain silent and allowed senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar (DKS) to do all the talking. DKS claimed that all the Congress MLAs were with the party. But when told that some MLAs were missing, he said they are all on the way. It looked rather strange that five MLAs should take two days to reach Bengaluru. One MLA has suddenly gone missing and one independent MLA switched sides to the BJP. Fearing poaching, the Congress and the JD(S) took all its MLAs to Eagleton Golf Resort on the outskirts of Bengaluru. This is the same resort where Congress MLAs of Gujarat were housed prior to the Rajya Sabha polls featuring Ahmed Patel.
CONGRESS PLEADS IN CJI COURT
Minutes after Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa to form the government on Wednesday evening, the Congress rushed to Chief Justice of Dipak Misra to ask him to cancel the governor’s invitation to the BJP.
The Congress, which has called the governor’s decision an “encounter of the Constitution”, has asked Misra to hold the hearing later in the night to ensure that Yeddyurappa does not take charge.Sources said senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi had put in a request with the top court’s registrar for a hearing. Chief Justice Dipak Misra is yet to decide if the case can wait till tomorrow.Singhvi had kept the petition ready in case the governor did invite Yeddyurappa, the leader of the single largest party and overlooked the claims of the Congress-Janata Dal Secular alliance which had the numbers.
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