Bengaluru: BJP’s legislature party leader BS Yeddyurappa will be sworn in as Karnataka chief minister at 9 am on Thursday as Governor Vajubhai Vala ended the suspense and invited the BJP to form the government in the state, capping a day of intense jockeying for power and allegations of horse trading and a dramatic late night Supreme Court hearing.
"I invite you (Yeddyurappa) to form the government and be sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka," a communique from Raj Bhavan said. The Governor directed Yeddyurappa to seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the assembly within 15 days of taking oath. Yeddyurappa, in his two meetings with the Governor since Tuesday, had sought seven days to cobble up the numbers.
Congress and JDS filed a joint petition at the Supreme Court and sought an "urgent hearing" in the matter, which the CJI obliged and the hearing continued till 4.30 am in the morning after starting around 2 am. The 3-judge SC bench, headed by Justice AK Sikri, indicated that it does not intend to stay BS Yeddyurappa's swearing-in that is scheduled at 9 am.
The Governor took the decision on inviting the BJP, the single largest party in the state, and not the majority coalition of JDS and Congress, after consulting with former Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi in the evening. The BJP has won 104 seats in the election, eight seats short of the majority, while the post-poll coalition has 117 seats to its name.
Leaders of the two parties, who have formed a post-poll coalition, launched a fusillade against Vala, dubbing him a stooge of the NDA major and accusing him of encountering Constitution at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah.
JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy accused the Modi government of misusing Constitutional institutions. "We will not let it go easily...", a furious Kumaraswamy told reporters. "He (Yeddyurappa) has no majority," Kumaraswamy said, adding, "It will be a repeat of 2008...they will loot the state." Asked about the next step, he said, "Wait and see."
“The governor has encountered Constitution at the behest of Modi and Shah calling an 'immoral and illegal' government to be sworn-in as the 'illegitimate child' cannot sustain the scrutiny of Constitution and test of law,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.
Congress leader P Chidambaram also alleged that the governor has given Yeddyurappa 15 days to "convert" the number of 104 legislators to 111. "Governor invites Mr Yeddyurappa to manufacture a majority in 15 days. Governor gives Mr Yeddyurappa 15 days to convert the number 104 into 111," he tweeted.
The Congress and the JDS have moved their MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru to prevent poaching. Kumaraswamy has alleged that the BJP promised people in his party Rs 100 crore in cash and cabinet posts and 32 of his lawmakers have been approached by the party.
According to sources, the BJP is trying to lure some disgruntled Lingayat MLAs in the Congress, who were unhappy with the choice of Kumaraswamy.
Sources said that for his decision, the Governor went by the recommendations of the 1983 Sarkaria Commission, the first panel to review Centre-state relations. It had expressly recommended inviting the single largest party first to avoid any controversy.
However, this recommendation has been ignored by governors in various states recently, particularly in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya – all three where the Congress had emerged as the single largest party and the BJP had cobbled up a post-poll alliance.
After meeting the Governor on Wednesday evening, JDS and Congress leaders had said that Vala had assured that he would keep the precedents of the other states.