Karnataka trust vote: BS Yeddyurappa said I will lose nothing if I lose power
Bengaluru: Two days after he took oath as the chief minister of Karnataka, BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa resigned today, just minutes before his minority government was to take a trust vote on the floor of the assembly. In an emotional speech, the BJP's tallest leader in Karnataka, said, "If only people would have given us 113 seats instead of 104, we would have made this state a paradise." The BJP is short of a majority and has been accused by the opposition Congress and Janata Dal Secular of trying to bribe and threaten their lawmakers.
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Before he announced his resignation, Mr Yeddyurappa said he had traveled throughout Karnataka for the last two years and seen the pain on the faces of people. "I will lose nothing if I lose power, my life is for the people," he said.
He also declared that the BJP will win 28 out of 28 seats in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
There was high drama in Karnataka ahead of Mr Yeddyurappa's announcement. Two Congress lawmakers were missing in the assembly as newly-elected members were sworn in. Anand Singh and Pratap Gowda Patil, were believed to have been kept in a Bengaluru hotel by the BJP.
Pratap Gowda was not present in the assembly when his name was called out for his oath. Sources say the missing lawmakers are at a hotel after being flown in to Bengaluru on a chartered flight by BJP legislator Somasekhara Reddy. Anand Singh had earlier alleged that he was "kidnapped and threatened with criminal cases".
Top police officers were seen at Bengaluru's Goldflinch hotel, where the lawmakers are believed to be present. Sources said the officers went to check if the lawmakers, Anand Singh and Pratap Gowda Patil, had been held captive or were there of their own free will.
The Congress and JDS lawmakers were constantly on the move as their parties tried to sequester them from attempts to bribe, threaten or induce them into switching over to the BJP. They were brought in this morning from Hyderabad in buses after an overnight journey.
The lawmakers had travelled through the night also from Bengaluru to Hyderabad on Thursday night, covering 500 km in an exhausting eight-hour journey that started just after midnight. The Congress and JDS had planned chartered flights out of Bengaluru but they say they were not given permission.
On Wednesday night, a day after Karnataka produced a hung verdict, Governor Vajubhai Vala decided to invite the BJP instead of the Congress-Janata Dal Secular combine, which claimed 117 lawmakers.
The Congress challenged his decision in the Supreme Court the same night. After an all-night hearing, the court didn't stop Mr Yeddyurappa's oath ceremony, but said it would continue hearing the case and raised concerns about an "open invitation to horse-trading".
Resuming the hearing yesterday, the Supreme Court ordered Mr Yeddyurappa to take a strength test today. "Better that the floor test is on Saturday so that nobody gets any time," said one of the three judges. Mr Yeddyurappa's request for a secret ballot was also denied.