Karnataka election: BS Yeddyurappa has been asked to form government by governor, oath at 9 am today
New Delhi: BJP's BS Yeddyurappa will take oath as Karnataka Chief Minister at 9 am today after his party was invited to form government, and given 15 days to prove majority by the governor on Wednesday evening. The Congress, to ensure that does not happen, approached the Supreme Court late at night and asked for the swearing-in to be stopped. Three judges of the Supreme Court heard the petition in an unprecedented 2 am hearing, but refused to stay the oath taking ceremony. The BJP has 105 lawmakers, including an Independent, in the 222-seat assembly and is seven short of majority. Earlier on Wednesday evening, the Governor met a delegation of the Congress and JD(S) leaders, who also staked claim to form government, claiming they have majority.
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The Congress approached the Supreme Court, asking Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to cancel the governor's invitation to the BJP, calling the decision an "encounter of the Constitution".
Arguing on behalf of the Congress and JD(S), Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the three-judge bench that the governor has negated democracy by not calling the alliance commanding majority in Karnataka. "It is the biggest license to poaching if the governor gives 15 days to BJP to prove majority as in earlier such cases 48 hours were given by SC," Mr Singhvi said.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing two BJP lawmakers, said no injunction can be issued to the governor.
The governor had last evening delivered a letter to Yeddyurappa's house, inviting him to form government. "The moment that crores of Kannadigas are awaiting is here. Sri @BSYBJP will take oath as Chief Minister of Karnataka tomorrow morning at 9.00 AM at Raj Bhavan. The movement to build our Suvarna Karnataka has started," the Karnataka BJP had tweeted.
"The Governor holds a constitutional office. He must not walk on the path that is illegal. We hope there is not another outrage on the constitution," senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram said at a press conference called late in the evening.
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy alleged that the BJP promised people in his party 100 crores in cash and cabinet posts and 32 of his lawmakers have been approached by the party. The Congress said one of its lawmakers, Anand Singh, is missing. He is said to be close to Reddy brothers, the mining barons from Bellary. The two parties are planning to move their lawmakers to a resort.
Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar has rubbished Mr Kumaraswami's allegations. Asked how the BJP plans to achieve majority, he said, "It would happen in the natural course of things... Many lawmakers are upset with the unethical marriage of convenience between the Congress and the JD(S)".
After the scare over missing lawmakers in the morning, the Congress and the JD(S) tried to parade all their lawmakers before the Governor, taking them to the Congress office in a luxury bus. But the Governor declined. Party leaders indicated that they will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to convince the Governor that they have the numbers.
After being heavily outnumbered by the BJP during the counting of votes on Tuesday, the Congress struck a deal with the JD(S). The party has offered unconditional support to a government headed by JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy.
The BJP contends that it should be allowed to form the government as it is the single largest party. The Congress disputes the claim, citing the precedent set by the BJP in Goa and Manipur last year. In both states, the Congress emerged the single largest party but the BJP cobbled up alliances and was invited to form the government.