Supreme Court orders floor test tomorrow in Karnataka
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that a floor test be conducted in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday at 4 p.m. for BJP’s B.S. Yeddyurappa, who was sworn-in on Thursday as Chief Minister, to prove his majority.
Mr. Yeddyurappa cannot take any major decision before the floor test, the court said. The pro-tem Speaker will take decisions in accordance with the law on floor test.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the post poll Congress-JD(S) combine against the decision of Governor Vajubhai Vala to invite the BJP to form a government and to nominate an Anglo-Indian member to the Assembly.
Yeddyurappa recommends to Governor to convene House at 11 a.m.
Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, who attended an emergency cabinet meeting along with Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha, has decided to recommend to Governor Vajubhai Vala to convene the Assembly at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Among others present at the meeting was Legislative Assembly Secretary N Murthy.
The other recommendation made from the State government are the names for the pro-tem speaker. Sources said eight-time MLA R V Deshpande of Congress, seven-time MLA Umesh Katti of BJP and six-time MLA Vishweshwar Kageri of BJP were recommended to the office of the Governor. The name of the pro-tem Speaker will be announced by Mr. Vala later.
Meanwhile in Goa, Congress MLAs led by CLP leader Chandrakant Kavlekar met Governor Mridula Sinha at Raj Bhavan on Friday, reports our Goa correspondent Prakash Kamat. They had a letter seeking to be invited to form government, as the largest party with 16 MLAs.
In Bihar, Amarnath Tewary tells us that Tejaswi Yadav along with RJD, Congress, HAM(S) and CPI-ML MLAs have set off to the Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Satya Pal Malik to stake claim to form government in the State as being single largest party.
Mr. Yadav, who went inside to meet the Governor along with three other MLAs, said Mr. Malik had heard them seriously. “We’ve submitted the support of 111 MLAs of the single largest party and block. The Governor said he would think over it and let us know about his decision,” said Mr. Yadav. “If we get invited I would like to say we’ll pass the floor test comfortably. A lot of JD(U) MLAs are in touch with me…we’d easily get the magic figure of 122 MLAs to form the government,” he added.
“We welcome the Supreme Court order. Now BJP has been exposed in the country,” he said.
Last year, in the Goa Assembly polls, the BJP had had come second with 13 seats while the Congress had emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats. However, with some swift political manoeuvring, the BJP struck a post-poll alliance to form the government.
During the 2015 Assembly election in Bihar, the RJD was in a grand alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Congress. Though the RJD had 80 MLAs, nine more than Mr. Kumar’s party, it gave the CM’s position to the JD(U) as part of a pre-poll understanding. However, Mr. Kumar switched sides last July and formed the government with the help of the BJP’s 53 MLAs.
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah says the Governor’s conduct indicates that his decision is as per directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. “Giving 15 days to prove majority is unprecedented in the history of independent India,” he says. “It shows his collusion with the BJP.”
The floor test will be conducted by a pro-tem Speaker.
The pro-tem Speaker performs the duties of the office of the Speaker from the commencement of the sitting of the Assembly till the election of a Speaker.
The pro-tem Speaker will be the senior-most MLA, that is, the one with the most number of terms as a member of the House. If there is a tie, the one with the earliest tenure will be chosen.
No official announcement has been made yet about who the pro-tem Speaker is.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi says, “The Supreme Court’s order on Karnataka floor test vindicates our stand that Governor acted unconstitutionally.”
Mr. Yeddyurappa says he is confident of proving his majority in the Assembly.
BJP’s Shobha Karandlaje says, “The party will abide by the Supreme Court order and “we are confident of winning the floor test tomorrow.” She adds that many of the MLAs who do not want the JD(S)-Congress combination are in touch with them.
Soon after the apex court order, Mr. Singhvi told journalists outside the court, “It is a historic verdict. Many important directions have been given, one of them being that floor test has to be conducted at 4 p.m. tomorrow under a pro-tem speaker.”
The Supreme Court orders that a floor test be conducted tomorrow (Saturday) at 4 p.m in the Karnataka Assembly.
It says all MLAs will vote tomorrow. Pro-tem Speaker will decide what manner the floor test should be held.
Mr. Yeddyurappa should not take any major policy decisions in the meantimes, says the court.
Rohatgi opposes immediate floor test
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who is appearing for Mr. Yeddyurappa, says:
“I am disputing the signatures of Congress members. A floor test will show how many signatures they really had. The Governor never received a signed letter.
“I dont think floor test should be held tomorrow. Pro-tem speaker has to be appointed, etc. People should be given a reasonable time. Not tomorrow. Not fair. I have to also get my flock. Their people are locked up, not mine.”
Floor test an inevitability, says Singhvi
Mr. Singhvi states that conducting a floor test is an “inevitability.”
He says: “But B.S. Yeddyurappa declares he is the single largest party in his May 15 letter to Governor even before EC declares the election.
“B.S. Yeddyurappa says ‘I with an unknown X’ which he does not name ‘will form a majority.’ He had to say ‘I with A,B,C have crossed majority mark.
”Congress-JDS specified 117 with all details. Can you say the Governor applied his mind by giving B. S. Yeddyurappa the opportunity to form a government?
”Yeddyurappa tells the Governor, ‘give me some time. I have 104. Give me a small window, with that I will ‘manufacture’ a majority’.”
Floor test on Saturday an option, observes SC
Justice Sikri says, ” Ultimately this is a number game.”
He adds: “An alternative is floor test and tomorrow itself. We don’t give time for anybody.
“The issue has to be decided. Let us have the floor test and issue on question of law will be decided later here.”
Congress-JD(S) an unholy alliance: Mukul Rohatgi
Hearing in Supreme Court begins on a petition was filed by the Congress and the JD(S) against the decision of the Governor to invite the BJP to form a government.
Mr. Mukul Rohatgi reads out the May 15 letter saying since there is no pre-poll alliance and as single largest party, the BJP can form a govt.
“The Congress-JD(S) is an unholy alliance. The Sarkaria Commission is only guidelines. Finally it is the Governor’s discretion to form a stable and popular government. We are the single largest party with additional support.”
What could possibly happen today?
One of the possibilities is that the court would advance the date for a floor test and leave the party with the most number of members to form a government. The BJP has 104 members while the Congress and the JD(S) jointly have 117 members, which is well past the majority mark.
The Congress, with fears about poaching by the BJP, on Friday brought its Karnataka MLAs to Hyderabad.
Sources said they were being accommodated in two five star hotels – Taj Krishna and Park Hyatt – which are owned by a senior Congress leader.
Where are the MLAs?
Meanwhile, suspense continues regarding the whereabouts of the Congress and JD(S) MLAs.
Party national Secretary General Kunwar Danish Ali confirmed to that all 37 MLA elects would travel by road to Kochi on Thursday night itself. But conflicting reports say they left Kochi and are currently at Hyderabad.
-MAY 18, 2018