Karnataka drama LIVE: BSY row inspires Congress to stake claim in Goa, RJD in Bihar
by Mr. Author · Published · Updated
After the Supreme Court refused to put a stay on the swearing-in of BS Yeddyurappa– two-time chief minister BSY took oath as Karnataka chief minister today. His swearing-in only ensued more drama, with Congress leaders and MLAs staging a sit-in at the Vidhan Sabha, while two of their MLAs went ‘missing’. Stay with our blog for all the live updates.
Congress has decided to observe May 18 as ‘Save the Democracy Day’. Hitting out at Vajubha Vala’s decision of inviting the BJP to form a government in Karnataka, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, “Vajubhai Vala had sacrificed his seat for Narendra Modi earlier, yesterday he sacrificed Constitution and democracy for him. He conducted the first encounter of Constitution yesterday when he invited BJP to form the government. Today when he swore-in BS Yeddyurappa (as Karnataka CM), he conducted its second encounter.”
As Goa Congress prepares to submit to Governor Mridula Sinha a formal letter containing signatures of all the 16 party MLAs, similar protests are being planned in Meghalaya and Manipur.
In addition, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress party in Bihar will parade their MLAs and demand that their coalition be given the chance to form government too– akin to Karnataka.
Following this, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has sought time from the Bihar Governor to demand dismissal of the Nitish Kumar government and invite RDS-Congress combine to form government.
In view of the Karnataka rumble, the Goa Congress has now sought an appointment with the Governor to stake claim to form government.
The Congress party had emerged as the single largest party in the Goa assembly election last year.
The Congress had bagged 17 seats in the 40-member House, falling short of the majority figure by four seats. The BJP, which got 14 seats, formed the government in alliance with Goa Forward Party and MGP, both of which had secured three seats each. Three Independents also went with the BJP.
Latest in the Karnataka government drama– The Congress, JD (S) combine has now filed a fresh plea in the Supreme Court to stop appointment of an Anglo-Indian community member in the Karnataka assembly.
Petition filed in the apex court seeks to stop Karnataka Governer Vajubhai Vala from nominating an Anglo-Indian member to the Karnataka Assembly before the trust vote.
Interestingly, two Congress MLAs are reported to have left the Eagleton resort where all the party legislators have been put up since the last two days. One of them — Rajashekhar Basavaraj Patil — said that he was leaving the resort as he was “sick”. “[I am going to] visit hospital and [will] come back in hour or two… We are united. All MLAs are inside,” Patil said.
Who is BS Yeddyurappa?
Newly sworn-in Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is known as controversy’s favourite child in the state politics. He had to relinquish the post of Karnataka chief minister in the past on charges of corruption and fight a legal battle that went right up to the Supreme Court.
Actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha has, once again, attacked the BJP. “There is politics of jugaad and pressure that is going on in Karnataka to form a government and this is not healthy sign for the democracy and constitution,” Sinha, a BJP MP known for his frequent criticisms of his own party, said.
Meanwhile, JD (S) chief HD Deve Gowda is expected to go on a trip to Tirupati. Deve Gowda is scheduled to leave Bengaluru later today afternoon with his family. His son Kumaraswamy, who had staked claim to power in Karnataka, will however stay back.
‘Only aim in life is to get rid of Modi’
Former law minister and noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani has launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP, saying what’s happening in Karnataka is “not horse racing [but] donkey racing”. “I have one objective left, to get rid of Modi. I have not lost faith in the Supreme Court,” Jethmalani said.
‘Elections now useless’
Meanwhile, the BJP’s frenemy Shiv Sena has launched a scathing attack saying there is “too much of nautanki (drama) in Karnataka.” “There is no meaning left [in holding] elections,” Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut told an India Today TV correspondent. “Democracy… is dead… elections are of no use,” Raut, whose party is allied with the BJP in Maharashtra, said. Shiv Sena, it must be noted, has announced its intentions of quitting the alliance in Maharashtra.
‘The main guy behind this Modi’
Answering India Today’s question on why he thinks PM Modi and Amit Shah were absent today from BSY’s oath taking ceremony, former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah remarked, “Modi is the main guy… He is behind all these games.”
Reiterating that the BJP has no numbers to prove, Siddaramaiah continued, “We are not insecure, Congress, JD (S) have numbers to prove, BJP does not. I condemn the Governor’s decision.”
He also assured that all 118 MLAs are present at the Vidhan Soudha.
Meanwhile, senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani has moved an application in the Supreme Court for urgent hearing against the Karnataka Governor’s decision to invite BSY to take oath as chief minister.
The Supreme Court has now directed him to mention it on Friday before an appropriate bench.
Refusing to comment on the drama that ensued in the Supreme Court late last night, Yeddyurappa said, “Matter is in the Supreme Court. We don’t want to discuss trust motion here.”
Further promising to fulfil his promise to farmers, the Karnataka chief minister said, “I will waive off farm loans soon.”
CM Yeddyurappa, addressing a press conferrence in Karnataka, said, “I want to thank all the people of the state.”
Yeddyurappa also hit out at the Congress and the JD (S), saying they were trying to “immorally” form alliance in Karnataka. Yeddyurappa also suggested that some of the Congress and JD (S) MLAs would support him, saying, “[A] lot of Congress and JDS [MLAs] want a BJP government. They should vote during [the] trust motion [based on their] conscience.”
Can BJP reach a majority?
The BJP won 104 of 222 seats where election was held in Karnataka. The Congress and JD(S) entered into a post-poll alliance making coalition’s strength at 116. Governor Vala, though, has given Yeddyurappa 15 days’ time to prove majority in Karnataka Assembly. The BJP has argued both in the Supreme Court and outside that it will prove majority on the floor of the house in Karnataka Assembly. The implicit meaning of this claim is that the BJP is confident of defection by some of the newly-elected members from the Congress or the JD(S) or both.
With clamour growing against Independent MLA R Shankar’s see-saw with pledging support to BJP first then to the Congress, JD (S) combine, the MLA has clarified his stand.
Speaking to the media, R Shankar said, “I went to meet Yeddyurappa because Eshwarappa is my relative. But, I realised they don’t have numbers so I came back. They offered me too. But I don’t think they’ll get the numbers so I came back to Congress at midnight.”
In high-octane drama, two Independent MLAs have turned up at the Vidhan Soudha (Sabha) to join the protest against Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in.
It should be noted that one of the Independents, R Shankar was till Wednesday morning seen at BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa’s residence in Dollars Colony, but later in the evening he pledged allegiance to the Congress-JD(S) combine.
Where is Rahul Gandhi?
Speaking to India Today, senior Congress leader PL Punia explained that the party president is keen to go to Karnataka but he has a pre-scheduled programme.
The pre-scheduled programme here is Rahul Gandhi’s two-day Chhattisgarh tour that begins today.
Trouble mounts for Congress, JD(S) as two Congress MLAs are now being reported to have gone ‘missing’. One of them is Karnataka Congress MLA Pratap Gowda Patil from Maski (Raichur) who also signed the document on Wednesday, pledging his support to HD Kumaraswamy.
Meanwhile, Congress MLAs staying at the Eagleton resort in Bengaluru have left for the Vidhan Soudha (Sabha), where they will join other party leaders to stage a protest against Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in.
‘No faith in democracy’
Speaking to media after BSY’s swearing-in, a dejected Siddaramaiah mumbled, “I have lost faith in democracy.”
Congress leaders and MLAs are now staging a dharna (sit-in protest) outside the Vidhan Soudha (Sabha)– protesting against BSY taking oath of office today without proving majority in the house.
In pic: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Mallikarjun Kharge, KC Venugopal among others.
In middle of a power struggle that Karnataka has been witnessing for the past two days, Congress president Rahul Gandhi termed BJP forming government today as ‘mockery of our Constitution’.
According to reports, the BJP is likely to announce the date for proving their majority in the house post BS Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in today.
RECAP | The Supreme Court, in an extremely rare decision, decided to hear the Congress’s petition against the Karnataka Governor inviting the BJP to form government at around 2am. Arguments on the petition continued until 5am when a three-judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SA Bobde and AK Sikri decided against ordering a stay on BS Yeddyurappa’s swearing in. The bench, however, sought the letters of approval in Yeddyurappa’s favour and placed the matter for further hearing on Friday. So, it seems, it all boil down to the numbers with the BJP having to show it has the backing of enough number of MLAs in Karnataka. The Supreme Court will next hear the matter on Friday.
“It is the discretion of the Governor to decide on appointing the CM. It is for the Governor to invite, the decision of the Governor cannot be challenged. As for who has the majority, it has to be proved on the floor of the house,” says constitution expert Subhash Kashyup.
Supreme Court to hear matter again on Friday (tomorrow) at 10.30 am.
Judge Sikri begins dictating the order.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi concludes his argument. The bench has began writing the order.
Hearing underway, Mukul Rohatgi cites the Bommai judgment.
Supreme Court has not dismissed the petition filed by Congress and JD(S). It has asked BS Yeddyurappa to file a reply.
Defer swearing-in till 4:30 pm, says Singhvi. “If Yeddyurappa comes with the records/letter and the court finds there is no merit in my case, I am out. But once he is sworn in then the whole thing will have to be reversed,” he said.
“Defer swearing-in for few hours so that SC can hear the matter in the morning,” said Singhvi
Apex court refuses to stay swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as CM.
AG Venugopal and Mukul Rohatgi agree for floor test in seven days.
AG says swearing in subject to the outcome of floor test. SC can hear the matter after floor test, he says. “We do not know whether Yeddyurappa will face floor test. This petition should not have been filed. They should have waited for outcome of floor test,” he said.
“What is bothering us is that this is not a fluid situation. Figures don’t support your case, ” Justice Sikri tells AG Venugopal.
This petition should not have been filed. Congress and JD(S) should have waited for the floor test to be conducted: Attorney General KK Venugopal, Centre’s lawyer
“In a case like this where the opposite side is showing 117 MLAs support, how will you have 112 MLAs support?,” Justice AK Sikri asks AG KK Venugopal, while hearing the petition filed by Congress and JD(S) challenging Karnataka Governor’s decision.
The matter shouldn’t be heard in the night. Heavens won’t fall if someone is sworn in. Last time SC heard in night, the case related to hanging of Yakub Memon: M Rohatgi, BJP’s lawyer tells court in hearing of plea filed by Cong & JD(S) challenging Karnataka Governor’s decision.
Justice SA Bobde said, “we do not know what kind of majority BS Yeddyurappa has claimed. Unless we see that letter of support, we cannot speculate”, while hearing the petition filed by Congress & JD(S) challenging Karnataka Governor’s decision.
“Swearing-in ceremony can be held day after tomorrow,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi in hearing of plea filed by Cong & JD(S) challenging Karnataka Governor’s decision.
“If President’s rule under Art 356 can be stayed by a court, why not this of a Governor. The Governor has exercised his discretion without the aid and advice of the Cabinet,” said Abhishek Singhvi.
“How can we interfere in this matter when you do not have even the letter you claim they wrote to the Governor,” asks Judge Sikri.