Netizen 24 CAN: Karnataka govt formation: SC tells BJP to face floor test tomorrow; updates

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Karnataka govt formation: SC tells BJP to face floor test tomorrow; updates

Business Standard Karnataka govt formation: SC tells BJP to face floor test tomorrow; updates

While the Supreme Court resumed its hearing over the Karnataka government formation, the Congress observed 'Save Democracy Day' across the country. Catch all the updates here

BS Web Team | New Delhi La st Updated at May 18, 2018 11:48 IST

supreme court, sc Karnataka political turmoil: The Supreme Court on Friday resumed its hearing on Congress' plea regarding Karnataka Governor's decision to invite the BJP to form a government in the state. File photo

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The Supreme Court on Friday held a hearing in the Karnataka government formation matter, directing that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and the state's new chief minister, B S Yeddyurappa, must conduct the floor test on Saturday at 4 pm. The hearing came after the apex court issued notices to the Karnataka government and BJP's Yeddyurappa seeking their replies on the plea filed by the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine, which has opposed Yeddyurappa's swearing-in and termed Governor Vajubhai Vala's decision to invite the BJP to form the government as "unconstitutional". Meanwhile, the Congress, for its part, observed 'Save Democracy Day' today across the country.

The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to place before it two communications sent by Yeddyurappa to Governor V ala in which he had staked claim to form the government, saying their perusal was necessary to decide the case. Among these communications to be furnished in court will be the letter of support from newly-elected legislators that Yeddyurappa submitted to the Governor. The Congress has argued that the letter submitted by Yeddyurappa has only 104 signatures, which is clearly short of the majority mark of 112-seats in the 222-member Assembly. The Congress-JD(S) had submitted a letter with 117 signatures.

On Thursday, Governor Vala administered the oath of office and secrecy to Yeddyurappa at the Raj Bhavan in a morning ceremony. Vala has told Yeddyurappa to prove within 15 days that he has the majority in the Legislative Assembly. Although the BJP emerged as the single-largest party, winning 104 seats, in the May 12 assembly election, it fell short of eight seats from the 112-halfway mark in the lower House. The Congress trailed behind the saffron party with 78 seats and the regional JD(S) with 37 seats.

At a special pre-dawn hearing, a three-judge Bench of the apex court had rejected a joint writ petition, filed by the Congress and the JD(S) on Wednesday night, to halt the swearing-in of Yeddyurappa as Karnataka chief minister. However, the top court said Yeddyurappa's swearing-in was subject to the final outcome of the matter before it.

Here are the top ten developments in around the BJP versus Congress-JD(S) tussle over government formation in Karnataka:

1) SC says BJP's Yeddyurappa can take floor test tomorrow: The crucial hearing on the Congress-JD(S) petition challenging the Karnataka Governor's invitation to the BJP to form the government in the state began in the Supreme Court on Friday. The Supreme Court on Friday directed for a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly at 4 pm tomorrow.

The letters handed to the apex court by BJP's lawyer Mukul Rohatgi say that Yeddyurappa has been elected as leader of the largest party, the BJP, and that he has the support of the necessary number of MLAs. The letters that he is ready to prove it on the floor of the House.

The apex court observed that as Yeddyurappa has claimed support and since BJP is the single largest party, there could be two probabilities: The Governor's decision could be tested or a floor test would be held on Saturday. Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri said that a "floor test seems to be the best option".

During the hearing, when the Supreme Court wanted to know on what basis the Governor asks a party to provide a stable government, Rohatgi submitted that at this stage, he did not want to say anything more.

Speaking to news agencies ahead of the hearing, Rohatgi had said, "We'll show CM's letter to court... It shows he has support... Support will be shown in the House. There is no issue of horse-tra ding, it is the other way, as (Congress) MLAs have been taken to resorts."

Further, Rohatgi told the court, "We have certain information that many MLAs from other parties have not given any kind of written support to Congress-JD(S)."

During the hearing, the Supreme Court said, "It is just a number game, one who enjoys the majority should be invited to form the government."

The Supreme Court Bench, comprising judges A K Sikri, S A Bobde, and Ashok Bhushan, had asked the BJP to furnish in court the letter of support from newly-elected legislators that Yeddyurappa submitted to the Governor when he staked claim to form the government.

2) Congress-JD(S) ready for floor test tomorrow: During Friday's hearing, Congress' lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted to the Supreme Court that the Congress-JD(S) combine was ready for a floor test on Saturday.
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3) Congress, JD(S) MLAs shifted to Hyderabad: Karnataka Congress MLAs on Friday arrived at Hyderabad's Taj Krishna Hotel, with the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee head Uttam Kumar Reddy also present at the scene, news agency ANI reported.

However, according to News18, Congress MLAs on Friday reached the Park Hyatt hotel in Hyderabad. The report added that JD(S) MLAs would reach the hotel soon.

The Congress on Thursday had said that its MLAs, lodged at Eagleton Resort in Bengaluru, would be shifted in order to avoid alleged horse-trading attempts by the BJP. Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy had further said that JD(S) MLAs were not coming along with them. "We will be shifted today. We will tell you more later. JD(S) MLAs are not coming along. The place has not been decided yet," Reddy had told the media.

4) Congress observing 'Save Democracy Day 9; today: The Congress on Friday will observe 'Save Democracy Day' across the country in protest against Karnataka Governor Vala's decision to "illegally" invite BJP's Yeddyurappa to form the government in the state. On Thursday, Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala accused the Karnataka Governor of colluding with the BJP and playing a "partisan" role in government formation in the state after the May 12 polls threw a split verdict.

Surjewala also accused Vala of "murdering" democracy and "trampling" the Constitution by inviting Yeddyurappa. "The Congress has decided that its workers and leaders will observe a 'Save Democracy Day' across the country on May 18 to highlight the Governor's trampling of the Constitution," he told reporters.

In a letter to party general secretaries, state unit presidents, and chiefs of frontal organisations, All India Congress Co mmittee General Secretary Ashok Gehlot asked them to organise protests and dharnas at all state capitals and district headquarters against the 'partisan' role of the Governor. He also asked the party's state unit presidents and all senior leaders to lead a delegation to their respective governors and submit a memorandum urging the President "to safeguard the democratic principles and the sanctity of the Constitution".

Our detailed copy on the Karnataka election aftermath: Karnataka fallout: Congress MLAs shifted by bus to Kerala resort; updates

5) BJP wooing Congress, JD(S) MLAs as SC sword hangs over its head: The BJP, for its part, is alert to the possibility that the Supreme Court could ask it to prove its majority on the floor of the Karnataka Assembly before schedule. With this in mind, the BJP on Thursday made efforts to woo Congress and JD(S) MLAs.

Mindful of the BJP's attem pts, the Congress has taken its legislators to separate resorts to ensure that the saffron party couldn’t reach out to them. However, Congress sources conceded that two of the party’s legislators may have already defected. Congress said its legislator Anand Singh was being threatened by central probe agencies. Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy alleged that the security personnel were asked to leave by the state administration and BJP workers came in and started offering money to party legislators.
ALSO READ: Here's why Modi's fragile 'victory' in Karnataka election highlights a risk

What options is BJP looking at? BJP Lok Sabha member Shobha Karandlaje tweeted that her party was in contact with Congress legislators who were upset with the party leadership for aligning with the JD(S).

Since the majority mark stands at 112, the BJP either needs the support of eight legislators to increase its numbers or it will have to bring the effective strength of the Assembly down with some legislators quitting. According to BJP sources cited by an earlier Business Standard report, the party has reached out to some of the Congress' Lingayat legislators. According to the report, these legislators are upset at the Congress supporting H D Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga. The BJP has asked these Congress legislators to quit their respective seats, and that the party will either help them get re-elected from the same seats in the by-elections, or they will be sent to the legislative council. Half a dozen Karnataka legislative council seats are to fall vacant in June.

ALSO READ: Karnataka: CM B S Yeddyurappa announces farm loan waiver; latest updates

6) BJP also preparing itself for future if it loses floor test: The BJP, as reported earlier by Business Standard, has also prepared for the eventualit y of losing the floor test. Therefore, with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the first decision of newly-appointed Chief Minister Yeddyurappa was to reach out to the farmers of Karnataka. He has announced that all farm loans of up to Rs 100,000 would be written off.
ALSO READ: Karnataka's farm loan waiver likely to cost the exchequer Rs 250 billion

7) Kumaraswamy not bothered by SC ruling, says ready to show strength on Assembly floor: Janata Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy, the kingmaker who was a hair's breadth away from being king, on Thursday said his party MLAs, along with those from the Congress, will "stay united at (the) same place" in order to prevent "horse-trading" ahead of the trust vote in the Karnataka Assembly.

"There is no question of fearing, but we have to take some cautions because of previous experiences. We wanted to take special care to repres ent their (Congress and JD(S) MLAs) living. We are not encouraging horse-trading. To stop it, they are living together," Kumaraswamy told the media. Accusing the BJP of misusing its power, Kumaraswamy said that several MLAs have been contacted by the BJP. "They are misusing the power. They are masters in misusing all constitutional institutions. All MLAs of JD(S) and Congress will stay united at same place," he added.

Kumaraswamy also said that he is not worried about the apex court's decision on the matter as they will show their strength in the Assembly. "We are not bothered about the Supreme Court judgement tomorrow. We have to show our strength only on the floor of House. We are taking care (of MLAs) for that," he said.

ALSO READ: After Karnataka song and dance, Rahul shows off his moves in Chhattisgarh

8) H D Deve Gowda, Rahul discuss Karnataka issue: JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda on Thursday had a telephonic conversation with Congress president Rahul Gandhi to discuss the current political situation in Karnataka. Last night, former prime minister Gowda visited the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh.

9) Rahul Gandhi likens situation in India to a dictatorship or Pakistan: Against the backdrop of the developments in Karnataka, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that the Constitution is under "severe attack", adding that the judiciary and the press were facing a situation more likely to be seen in Pakistan, or under a dictatorship, or some African countries ruled by generals.

"The Constitution is under severe attack in the country... In Karnataka, the MLAs are on one side and the Governor on the other and you know what attempt is being made," Gandhi said. "The JD(S) leader has said its MLAs were offered Rs 100 crore," the Congress president said, referring to Kumaraswamy's allegations.

Addressing a 'Jan Swaraj Sammelan' in Raipur, Gandhi said that his party had ruled the country for several years but never tried to capture democratic institutions. "There is fear in the judiciary, there is fear in the press, and even the BJP's members of Parliament are scared as they cannot speak a single word before the prime minister (Narendra Modi)," he said.

He said that in the past 70 years, it was generally seen that people approach the judiciary to seek justice. "But for the first time, it was seen that four judges of the Supreme Court came out to seek public support saying they were not allowed to perform their duties... It was seen for the first time in the country. It definitely happens under a dictatorship, it happens in Pakistan, it happens in different African countries, (where) a general comes and suppresses court and press, but in India, it has happened for the first time in last 70 years."
ALSO READ: He insulted the country: Ahir on Rahul's Pak comment

10) Congress seeks Karnataka Governor's recall: The Congress referred to a 2011 tweet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking the recall of the then Karnataka Governor and said, "We agree".

"Governor of Karnataka is bent upon destroying India's federal structure, urged PM to request President to recall him," Modi, who was then the Gujarat chief minister, had tweeted on May 19, 2011, against the then governor, H R Bhardwaj, alleging that he was "harassing" the BJP-led state government and "acting in a partisan manner".

With agency inputs

Read our full covera ge on Karnataka Assembly Election 2018 First Published: Fri, May 18 2018. 09:41 IST
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