Yeddyurappa Resigns Before Trust Vote, Kumaraswamy To Take Oath As New CM On Monday
With the Dramatic turn of events, Karnataka Assembly has seen some historic incidents for the past few days, albeit probably not for good. It will surely change the course of Indian Politics with general elections around the corner. BS Yeddyurappa resigned as Chief Minister within 56 hours of swearing in. Congress took a lead ahead of three key state elections – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
Karnataka Assembly went to polls on May 12. Elections verdict came with no party securing a simple majority required to form the Government. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – 104 seats, Congress – 78 seats, Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) – 37 seats, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – 1 seat in alliance with JD(S), and two independent MLAs.
Till afternoon of the vote counting day, May 15 BJP was seen leading the race and expected to secure a majority.However, BJP fell short of the halfway mark and lost the majority. Intending to keep BJP away from power Congress invited JD(S) to form a coalition government and extended full support to H.D. Kumaraswamy to be the Chief Minister. JD(S) with persuasion from several leaders like Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee accepted the Congress’s offer to keep BJP away from power. Congress and JD(S) also agreed to face the 2019 general elections together
BJP being the single largest party was too confident of forming the government despite falling short of the halfway majority mark. Both the BJP and the Congress – JD(S) alliance approached the governor on May 16 with letters supporting their claim to form the government. With much speculation around who will be called by the Governor Vajubhai Vala, a renowned RSS Cadre and a close associate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Gujarat proved his allegiance by arbitrarily inviting Yeddyurappa to form a government and gave a hefty 15 days time to prove the majority as against their request of seven days. This was the fifth floor-test for Yeddyurappa, since he first came to power in 2008.
Congress and JD(S) alleged that the governor is being partisan and acting against the constitution encouraging horse trading of MLAs by granting two weeks time to prove the majority. The Congress & JD(S) approached the Supreme Court and challenged governor’s decision of inviting the minority party, which then preceded for a post-midnight hearing at the Supreme Court till 5:00 A.M. Supreme Court refused to stay governor’s decision and allowed Yeddyurappa to take oath as Chief Minister. The Court had asked both the parties to submit the letters produced to the Governor stating that the oath is subjected to further order and adjourned the case to next hearing on Friday Morning.
BS Yeddyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister on May 17 morning at 9:00 A.M. Meanwhile, there were allegations raised against both the sides of poaching and horse trading of MLAs. Congress MLA Anand Singh went missing from the Party camp. Congress and the JD(S) planned to shift their MLAs to a non-BJP ruling state. Their MLAs were shifted to a resort in Hyderabad to prevent horse-trading after being denied permission to fly. JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy accused BJP of bribing Rs. 100 crore and a ministry for JD(S) MLAs. BJP however, denied the accusation and were confident that the unsatisfied MLA’s from the opposite camp will support them.
Supreme Court on May 18 morning heard the case and passed an interim judgement. The Court ordered for the floor test to be conducted by Saturday 4:00 P.M. A pro tem speaker to be appointed by the governor to look after the Oath and the floor test. CM shall not take any major policy decisions until proving the majority. The Judgement was welcomed by the Opposition and Lawyer Abhishek Singhvi representing Congress nearly pulled it off for them in the Apex Court. Congress & JD(S) claimed that the longest-serving candidate in the Assembly should be appointed as Pro tem speaker. Governor appointed KG Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker, who was also the speaker of the Assembly during the floor test against Yeddyurappa in 2010 and disqualified 11 unsatisfied MLAs who revolted against Yeddyurappa.
Congress again knocked the doors of the Supreme Court against the appointment of pro tem speaker citing the previous SC Judgement against the same speaker. Supreme Court today morning dismissed Congress petition to intervene in the speaker appointment stating that the floor test needs to be stopped to examine his appointment and hear their argument. Kapil Sibal on behalf of Congress argued that there should be more transparency in the floor test. Supreme Court directed that the pro tem speaker should only preside over the Oath taking of MLA’s and Floor test and there shouldn’t be any other agenda. The Court also ordered for the live telecast of the floor test in all the channels. Meanwhile, Congress released several tapes of BJP Leaders bribing Congress MLA’s votes in exchange for Money and Ministries.
With numbers falling short for the majority, it was still unsure where will BJP secure the support of MLA’s for the majority. The absconded Congress MLAs Anand Singh and Pratap Gowda appeared at the Assembly ahead of the voting.
The Assembly resumed and Chief Minister Yeddyurappa started giving a speech. Congress and the JD(S) opposed and insisted to call the Confidence motion. Yeddyurappa gave an emotional speech and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Party president Amit Shah for announcing him as the Chief Ministerial Candidate on the birth Anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar.
“The mandate has been given against the Congress and the JD(S). People voted for us but didn’t give us a majority. I hoped that other members would support us. But I failed to muster enough numbers. I will work till my last breath for the people and on a concluding note.” He announced that he is resigning and walked away from the Assembly and left to the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation letter. The Congress supreme Rahul Gandhi didn’t delay to hit back at BJP MLA’s who were found leaving the Assembly as the National Anthem was playing. His tweet read,” In the end, India’s voice and democratic spirit will always triumph over tyranny.”
In the end, India’s voice and democratic spirit will always triumph over tyranny.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 19, 2018
Congress and the JDS alliance very likely to take claim soon and sources say that HD Kumaraswamy to be sworn in as Chief Minister on Monday. Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to Congratulate. Her tweet reads,” Democracy wins. Congratulations to Karnataka. Congratulations DeveGowda Ji, Kumaraswamy Ji, Congress and others. The victory of the ‘regional’ front”
Democracy wins. Congratulations Karnataka. Congratulations DeveGowda Ji, Kumaraswamy Ji, Congress and others. Victory of the 'regional' front
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 19, 2018
In a Successive tweet, she also confirmed about Oath taking ceremony on Monday,” I just spoke with Kumaraswamy Ji and congratulated him. He invited me for the oath-taking ceremony on Monday”.
I just spoke with Kumaraswamy Ji and congratulated him. He invited me for the oath taking ceremony on Monday @hd_kumaraswamy
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) May 19, 2018
The Drama isn’t over yet for Karnataka. BJP may have given up for now but a lot rest on the Congress and JDS to run the coalition government successfully. The need for Congress to join hands the regional parties had intensified with this dramatic turnover in Karnataka.
Also published on Medium.