Bharatiya Janata Party leader BS Yeddyurappa will take oath as Karnataka chief minister at 9 am on Thursday after the Supreme Court refused a petition blocking the ceremony.
The Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) moved the Supreme Court registrar for an urgent hearing on Wednesday night, after Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form government. Vala granted Yeddyurappa 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house.
In the early hours of Thursday, the top court refused to stay the ceremony. However, it ordered the attorney general to furnish the letter in which Yeddyurappa told the governor that he had the numbers for a majority in the Karnataka house.
The Supreme Court said the matter would be taken up on Friday morning. Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in ceremony would still be subject to the final outcome in the legal matter, it added. A bench of three Supreme Court judges – Justices AK Sikri, A Bobde and Ashok Bhushan – will hear the matter.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Congress and JD(S) alliance, said the governor’s decision to ask BJP to form government was unconstitutional. “It is the biggest licence to poaching if the governor gives 15 days to BJP to prove majority as in earlier such cases 48 hours were given by the Supreme Court,” Singhvi said, according to NDTV.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said the Congress and the JD(S) should have waited for the floor test to be conducted. BJP’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi asked for the petition to be dismissed.
“We do not know what kind of majority BS Yeddyurappa has claimed. Unless we see that letter of support, we cannot speculate,” ANI quoted Justice SA Bobde as saying.
The late-night events came a day after the election results in Karnataka threw up an inconclusive verdict. Despite securing the most seats, the BJP did not win enough to form government by itself. The Congress and the JD(S) formed a post-poll alliance and together had enough seats to form government. After the alliance approached the governor to stake claim to form the government, the BJP also staked its own claim.