SC orders floor test in Karnataka tomorrow at 4 pm

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New Delhi: It has been three days now that the political scenario in Karnataka has kept everyone on tenterhooks. The Supreme Court, hearing the case filed by the Congress-JD(S) on Friday said that the BJP would have now to prove its majority on Saturday at 4pm.

The time that BJP had to do so has now been reduced to a mere day from the 15 days earlier granted by the Governor.

As Karnataka BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa was sworn in as the State Chief Minister despite the party falling short of the halfway mark in the Assembly Election, post-poll allies Congress and JD(S) approached the Supreme Court against Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision inviting him to form the government.

The Congress-JD(S) MLAs who were taken to Hyderabad on Thursday night will now have to make a U-turn to Bengaluru.

The case was heard by Justices Arjan Kumar Sikhri, Ashok Bhushan, and Sharad Arvind Bobde.

Mukul Rohatgi, who is representing the BJP, read out the two letters that the party had submitted to Governor Vala. While the first one said that the BJP could form the government because there was no pre-poll alliance, the second one claimed that Yeddyurappa had the required majority.

He said he could not reveal their names in court but was confident that they would have the majority if there was a floor test.

Meanwhile, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the Congress-JD(S) alliance, argued in court that Yeddyurappa had, in his letter to the Governor, declared BJP as the single largest party even before the Election Commission declared results.

He also pointed out in court that BJP was claiming it had the majority without revealing names or numbers, whereas the Congress and JD(S) had presented a letter to the Governor with the MLAs’ details. He then questioned how Governor Vala could have invited BJP to form the government.

His arguments were supplemented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal who argued that the “governor’s discretion” must happen within the Constitutional boundaries.

The three judges concurred that the best way to resolve this would hold a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly.

This comes after the same three-judge bench refused to stay Yeddyurappa’s swearing in as CM on Thursday but asked him to produce the letters he had given to the Governor in court – these have names and signatures of the MLAs supporting him.

While BJP now has very little time to prove its majority in the Assembly, Congress and JD(S) are trying hard to keep their flock together. This also leaves less space for resort politics and horse trading, and it remains to be seen whether the BJP will retain power in the state with a little over 24 hours remaining till the floor test.

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