Assembly elections

Congress, RJD take a leaf out of BJP’s Karnataka playbook, seek to form governments in Goa, Bihar

Congress Goa in-charge Chella Kumar said Governor Mridula Sinha has given the party an 11.30 am appointment on Friday.

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite Bharatiya Janata Party leader BS Yeddyurappa to form the government has set off a political maelstrom. The Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal have decided to stake claim to form the government in Goa and Bihar respectively, where they were the single-largest parties but failed to form the government.

Yeddyurappa, 75, took oath as chief minister at 9 am on Thursday, hours after the Supreme Court refused a petition seeking to stay the swearing in ceremony. The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) moved the Supreme Court registrar on Wednesday night after Vala granted Yeddyurappa 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house. The Supreme Court said the matter would be taken up on Friday morning.

This is the third stint at chief ministership for Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa. He was the chief minister of Karnataka between 2008 and 2011.

Yeddyurappa was chief minister in November 2007, after the JD(S) and BJP coalition fell through. As the BJP did not have the majority, Yeddyurappa resigned a week later. He contested from Shikaripura constituency in 2008 Assembly elections and won. Eventually, he became the first BJP chief minister of a southern state.

In 2011, however, he resigned after a Lokayukta report accused him of profiting from illegal mining and land deals. In 2012, he quit the BJP and floated the Karnataka Janata Paksha. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Yeddyurappa announced that his party would support the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, and his party was eventually dissolved.

10.04 pm: The former Chief Minister of Manipur, Okram Ibobi Singh, tells The Indian Express that he is going to approach Governor Najma Heptullah on Friday and stake claim to form the government.

“Based on the development in Karnataka our demand is that the present government be dissolved and we be allowed to form government,” says Singh, who is the leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the state. “India is one country with one law. There are no separate laws for Karnataka and Manipur. Does this mean that Manipur is not a part of the country?”

9.57 pm: Ramalinga Reddy accuses BJP of visiting the resort in Bengaluru, where the Opposition MLAs are staying, after the police were withdrawn. “They came inside and offered money,” he alleges. “They have been constantly calling people.”

9.52 pm: JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy says the party has not yet decided where it will move its MLAs, reports ANI. “Late night, we will decide where we have to go,” says Kumaraswamy. “There were several suggestions, one of them is to hold a protest in front of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.”

9.42 pm: Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy says Congress MLAs would be shifted to a secure location tonight, but JD(S) legislators would not accompany them.

9.21 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says she condemns horse-trading “in general”, according to ANI. “We always respect democratic institutions. Today, some party may be in power, and tomorrow out of power, but if we violate the Constitution, it’s going to have an adverse effect on us,” she adds.

9.03 pm: Janata Dal (Secular) MLA SR Srinivas says the party’s legislators are being shifted to a resort in Kochi.

8.50 pm: Congress Goa in-charge Chella Kumar says Governor Mridula Sinha has given the party an 11.30 am appointment on Friday, ANI reports. “I’ll go with the MLAs to meet her and stake our claim to form the government,” he adds.

8.20 pm: Congress legislator ST Somashekhar tells reporters that the party MLAs are not leaving Eagleton resort for Kochi at the moment. “There was a meeting at 7.30 pm,” he says. “After it is over we will will decide.”

7.46 pm: Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy says he is surprised at the Yeddyurappa government’s behaviour. “It is our responsibility to give security to our MLAs. All 38 MLAs are with me,” Kumaraswamy said. “But I’m really surprised to see how Yeddyurappa is behaving. After taking oath he has already transferred four Indian Police Service officers.”

7.35 pm: “Whatever the BJP has done in Karnataka is according to the rule book,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar says at a press conference, ANI reports. “The Congress is ill informed. They don’t have faith on their MLAs, so they have held them captive at a resort. JD(S) and Congress are scared after being exposed.”

7.12 pm: Congress-JD(S) MLAs may be moved out of Bengaluru to Kochi, reports News 18.

6.51 pm: Former Goa chief minister and senior BJP leader Laxmikant Parsekar says Congress’ decision to stake claim to form the government is an exercise in opportunism, reports News 18. “Where were they for the last 15 months?” he asks. “They failed to put up a name for the Chief Minister for the first three to four days and now they have suddenly woken up.”

6.38 pm: Congress MP KH Muniyappa criticises the Yedyurappa government’s decision to remove police cover from the Eagleton Resort in Bengaluru, where Congress legislators are staying. “This is not the system,” says Muniyappa. “Irrespective of whose govt it is, it is their duty to provide protection, provide security to the elected representatives.”

6.29 pm: The All-India Anglo Indian Association has decided to move Supreme Court challenging the Congress and the JD(S)’s plea seeking to stop the nomination of an Anglo-Indian member to the Karnataka Assembly till the floor test takes place, reports News 18.

6.17 pm: Tejashwi Yadav tells News 18 that the RJD would win the floor test if it is given the opportunity on Friday.

6.12 pm: Former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma have sought appointments with governors of their states on Friday, reports ANI.

5.57 pm: Congress workers stage demonstrations in Mumbai, Lucknow and Jaipur in protest against Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala’s decision to allow BS Yeddyurappa to form the government, ANI reports.

5.52 pm: The Yedyurappa government reportedly makes its first administration changes. Karnataka Police’s intelligence wing gets new officers, changes also made in key divisions of Bengaluru city police.

5.36 pm: JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy says that the BJP cannot divide his party’s legislators. “I have taken responsibility for their security,” News 18 quotes him as saying. His statement comes hours after the news channel reported that after Congress MLA Ramesh Jharkihol has gone missing from Eagleton Resort in Bengaluru. There is also no trace of Congress MLAs Pratap Gowda Patil and Anand Singh.

5.25 pm: RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav says that the party’s leaders will meet Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik at 1 pm on Friday and demand that the RJD be invited to form the government. “We are not just single largest party, but the single largest pre-poll bloc,” Yadav says.

5.17 pm: BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha questions the party’s decision to form the government in Karnataka even though it does not have majority. “What is right for Peter should be right for Paul too,” tweets Sinha. “What is right for Meghalaya, Manipur and Goa should be right for Karnataka too!! God save Karnataka and Democracy! Jai Hind!!”

5.05 pm: Congress General Secretary Ashok Gehlot writes to the party’s state presidents, urges them to protest against the Karnataka governor’s decision to allow BJP to form the government.

4.59 pm: Newly-sworn in Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa says he does not need 15 days to prove the majority of his government.

4.56 pm: “Congress is indulging in negative politics,” says Union minister Ananth Kumar at party meeting in Bengaluru. “We don’t want Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Siddaramaiah, we want Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Yeddyurappa.” People of Karnataka will not tolerate this back door entry by Congress and JDS, the BJP leader claims.

4.52 pm: Police security withdrawn from Eagleton Resorts on the outskirts of Bengaluru, reports News18 citing sources. The TV channel claims they were withdrawn on the orders of BS Yeddyurappa.

4.34 pm: “Democracy is in safe hands, don’t worry,” Vice President Venkaiah Naidu tells News18.

4.31 pm: Governor Vala sacrificed the Constitution and democracy for Narendra Modi, says Surjewala.

Surjewala adds that Vala has “subjugated the system” and “encountered the constitution”, and dared the BJP to prove its majority on Friday.

4.29 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala says the only way BJP’s 104 seats can become 112 in Karnataka is by money politics. “If the Prime Minister is backing such unconstitutional behaviour then what is left,” he asks. “BS Yeddyurappa is a lame duck chief minister, brought into power by Vajubhai Vala working out of the Governor’s house at the diktats of PM Modi.”

4.17 pm: Congress MLA Ramalinga Reddy claims all 117 of its elected leaders are with the party. When asked about the rumours that two of them – Pratap Gowda Patil and Anand Singh – are missing, Reddy says: “They will come back, nothing to worry.”

4.14 pm: The Karnataka political situation is creating ripples in Bihar as well, reports News18. Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tejashwi Yadav says his party will also request the Bihar governor to dissolve the Nitish Kumar-led government and invite the single largest party – the RJD – to take charge. “We will be holding a one-day dharna on Friday against the murder of democracy in Karnataka,” says Yadav.

4.06 pm: Congress Legislature Party chief Chandrakant Kavlekar says the party will submit a letter containing signatures of all the 16 MLAs to Sinha on Friday, PTI reports. In the Assembly elections held in March last year, the Congress bagged 17 seats in the 40-member house. It was short of the majority figure by four seats.

The BJP got 14 seats and formed the government in alliance with the Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, which had three seats each. Three Independents also supported the BJP.

4 pm: Amid the controversy in Karnataka, Congress MLAs in Goa will meet Governor Mridula Sinha on Friday and say that they should be invited to form the government in the state since it is the single largest party, with 16 MLAs, say reports. If necessary, Congress will parade its MLAs at the governor’s home.

3.46 pm: Former Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram says Yeddyurappa’s letter to the governor will seal his fate during the Supreme Court hearing on Friday.

3.36 pm: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav says democracy and freedom were murdered in Karnataka.

3.30 pm: Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) move another petition in the Supreme Court, reports News18. The plea seeks to stop the nomination of an Anglo-Indian member to the Karnataka Assembly, and says it should not be done till BS Yeddyurappa proves his majority on the floor of the house.

The Supreme Court will hear this on Friday along with the other petition moved by the two parties.

3.22 pm: Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel says the BJP would have incited violence in Karnataka if the Congress had done what the saffron party is currently doing.

3 pm: The many twists and turns following the Karnataka verdict have captured the imagination of India’s political cartoonists. Through satire, they show how both the Congress and the BJP have, at different points, been at an arm’s length of victory, only to see the prize snatched away from them.

2.52 pm: The Bharatiya Janata Party won 104 of the 222 seats in Karnataka, the Congress 78, the Janata Dal (Secular) 37, the Bahujan Samaj Party one and others two. Two constituencies are yet to vote. Elections for the Rajarajeshwari constituency in Bengaluru will take place on May 28, while polling for the Jayanagar seat will be held later due to the death of BJP candidate BN Vijay Kumar on May 4.

Gilles Verniers analyses and explains the verdict in 22 charts and maps. It not only shows how contrasted the results are but also demonstrates that Opposition parties will have to come together to defeat the BJP in 2019.

2.28 pm: BJP leaders mock Congress, claim the party is desperate as it has been losing many elections.

2.23 pm: Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala is working like the BJP’s agent, Congress leader Anand Sharma tells News18.

2.20 pm: Advocate NP Amrutesh files a petition in the Karnataka High Court against the BJP forming a government in the state, ANI reports. It urges the court to not allow defection of Congress and JD(S) MLAs to BJP.

2 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says the BJP acquired power in Karnataka even before proving majority. “BJP is a minority group and if one minority group forms the government then where will democracy go? Such things happen in Pakistan,” he says.

1.42 pm: The Congress will hold protests at Rajghat in New Delhi from 2:45 pm today, News18 reports.

1.33 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam working president MK Stalin says the governor’s decision is against democracy and the rule of law. “All of us saw how PM Modi misused the office of governor in Tamil Nadu. The same has been done in Karnataka,” Stalin says.

1.27 pm: BJP President Amit Shah congratulates Yeddyurappa for taking over as the chief minister of Karnataka. “This is the victory of every Kannadiga who voted to uproot the corrupt and divisive politics of Congress,” Shah says on Twitter. “I am sure the new government under the guidance of PM Narendra Modi will fulfil the aspirations of the people.”

1.20 pm: Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani calls Karnataka governor’s order a “stupid action”. Jethamalani moved the Supreme Court earlier on Thursday against Vajubhai Vala’s decision to invite Yeddyurappa to form government. “What has the BJP said to the governor that he took such a stupid action? The order of governor is an open invitation to do corruption,” he says.

1.10 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati blames the Congress for dividing the Muslim vote and slammed the party for calling the JD(S) the “B team” of the BJP. “The Congress should have not made speeches that hampered the votes of JD(S),” she says. “This resulted in dividing the Muslim vote which meant that the BJP won in the Muslim-dominated areas.”

12.52 pm: Congress leader DK Shivakumar says he is confident that they will form the government as they have the majority. “It is a shame for the BJP that they have gone down to this level,” he says. “It is a short-lived government...our MLAs will stay with us 100%.”

12.48 pm: Bahujan Samaj Partychief Mayawati says it has been the BJP’s conspiracy to destroy the Constitution since they came to power. “They have been misusing government machinery, thereby attacking democracy,” she says.

12.45 pm: B Sriramulu tells ANI independent MLAs were in touch with the BJP leaders.

12.32 pm: JD(S) may shift its MLAs to Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad as both Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao have offered them shelter, News18 reported quoting sources. The Congress reportedly will move its MLAs to Kerala as the Left government has assured them security.

12.30 pm: Rahul Gandhi says the Congress will focus on three things ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections – education, healthcare and employment. “We will work on education in government schools and make it more accessible,” he says.

12.22 pm: The former Karnataka chief minister tells reporters that all 118 MLAs of the Congress and JD(S) combine are present at the protest at Vidhan Soudha.

12.10 pm: Siddaramaiah says what the BJP is doing is unconstitutional. “We are 100% sure we will form the government,” he tells News18.

11.52 am: “One by one, the RSS has captured the independent institutions of the country,” the Congress President says at a gathering in Raipur. “The BJP is creating an atmosphere of fear. They don’t want Dalits, backward classes and women to fulfill their dreams.”

Image Credit: Congress/Twitter
Image Credit: Congress/Twitter

11.50 am: BJP’s B Sriramulu says the Congress and the JD(S) leaders are indulging in dirty games. “We express gratitude to the people of Karnataka for making BS Yeddyurappa the chief minister,” he adds.

11.38 am: Chief Minister Yeddyurappa expresses gratitude to the people of the state. “I am 100% confident I will succeed in this mission...The alliance between the Congress and the JD(S) is immoral. But people’s support is in my favour,” he says.

The chief minister says he doesn’t want to comment on the governor’s decision as the matter was before the Supreme Court. “But I am confident that I will complete the five-year term as chief minister,” he adds.

11.31 am: Addressing Jan Swaraj Sammelan in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur, Congress President Rahul Gandhi says BJP MPs are as fearful as the judges of the Supreme Court. “I meet BJP MPs in Parliament...They tell me they cannot utter a word in front of the prime minister,” he says according to News18.

“It’s the first time in 70 years that such a thing has happened,” Gandhi says. “The fear which is spreading the country, who is spreading it and who all are benefiting from this fear?”

11.22 am: Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda joins the Congress in their protest at Vidhan Soudha.

11.18 am: Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani moves Supreme Court against Karnataka governor’s decision to invite the BJP to form government. Jethmalani tells the top court that he is making the plea in his personal capacity. The lawyer says the governor’s order is a “gross abuse” of Constitutional power.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asks Jethmalani to mention his plea before the bench on Friday when the court will hear the matter.

11.16 am: The Shiv Sena says it might be difficult for Yeddyurappa to prove majority. “The governor should have called those who had maximum numbers.” Sanjay Raut tells ANI. “When this happens people say it is a murder of democracy. But there is no democracy left in the country anymore.”

11.12 am: In his first direction as the chief minister, Yeddyurappa announces farm loan waiver of Rs 1 lakh each farmer. As the BJP leader holds Cabinet meeting, legislature secretariat recommends RV Deshpande, Congress MLA from Haliyal constituency, as pro-tem speaker, reports News18.

11.04 am: Speculation is rife that Congress MLA Anand Singh, who won the Vijaynagar seat, could join the BJP. Singh was missing from a Congress meeting on Wednesday. HD Kumaraswamy accuses the Narendra Modi government of misusing central institutions and threatening MLAs. Kumaraswamy says Anand Singh had told him that the BJP is using the Enforcement Directorate against him.

Another Congress MP DK Suresh tells ANI Anand Singh, who was missing from the protest at Vidhan Soudha, was in the “clutches of Narendra Modi”.

10.55 am: Union minister Ananth Kumar says he was confident that Yeddyurappa will provide a stable and responsible government in Karnataka. “It is unfortunate that the Congress is indulging in nefarious activities, they should work as a constructive opposition party,” he says.

10.47 am: BJP President Amit Shah says “murder of democracy” happened when the Congress made an “opportunist” offer to the JD(S). “The president of the Congress obviously doesn’t remember the glorious history of his party,” Shah says on Twitter. “The legacy of Rahul Gandhi’s party is the horrific emergency, blatant misuse of Article 356, subverting the courts, media and civil society.”

10.44 am: JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy says the party’s plan is to safeguard its MLAs. He reiterated his claim that the BJP was trying to poach its MLAs. “People should know about the attitude of the central government,” Kumaraswamy tells reporters. “The BJP does not have majority, how has the governor behaved? He has misused his office.”

10.39 am: Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the BJP in the Supreme Court in the late night hearing, says there was no need for urgency in the matter. “There was no need for the matter to be listed at night,” Rohatgi tells ANI. “The Supreme Court has the power to undo if any wrong is done. Last night we didn’t have all the papers, expect the petition.”

Rohatgi says the governor had exercised his rights in inviting the BJP to form government.

10.36 am: In a tweet, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa says, “Development in Karnataka under the BJP has begun. We aim at the overall prosperity of the country.”

10.15 am: Speculation triggered after two Congress MLAs were missing from the resort where the party MLAs have been put up. However, Congress leader UT Khader dismisses reports. “Yes, two MLAs are not here at the resort,” Khader says, according to News18. “But they are not missing. They are on their way. Even I was not here yesterday, but I have come in today. They will also join us here soon.”

9.55 am: Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha says, “What is happening in Karnataka today is a rehearsal for what will happen after the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi.”

9.41 am: BJP leader Sriramulu says the party is ready to prove majority on the floor of the House. “The people of Karnataka have given a clear mandate that they want the BJP to form government,” he says. Sriramulu was fielded from Badami and Molakalmuru constituencies. While he lost to Siddaramaiah in Badami, he won Molakalmuru 84,018 votes.

9.36 am: Senior Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Siddaramaiah and Ashok Gehlot, along with party MLAs gather near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Vidhan Soudha, reports ANI.

9.30 am: Union minister Ananth Kumar says the Congress should protest against Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Siddaramaiah, as the three leaders had “ruined the Congress”.

9.28 am: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah says the matter on Yeddyurappa’s swearing in is pending before the court. “We will go to the people and we will tell them how BJP is going against the Constitution,” he says. “If BS Yeddyurappa wants to prove majority, he has to present the list of 112 MLAs. Let him do that.”

9.20 am: Congress President Rahul Gandhi says as BJP celebrates its “hollow victory”, India will mourn the defeat of democracy. “The BJP’s irrational insistence that it will form a government in Karnataka, even though it clearly doesn’t have the numbers, is to make a mockery of our Constitution,” he says on Twitter.

9.18 am: Congress and JD(S) MLAs to stage protest outside Karnataka Assembly, reports ANI.

9.03 am: BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa takes oath as the chief minister of Karnataka.

8.55 am: BS Yeddyurappa arrives at Raj Bhavan shortly before the oath-taking ceremony.

Watch the live ceremony from Bengaluru here:

8.44 am: Union minister Ananth Kumar says all precedents are with the governor’s decision. “We will get the support, we will prove our majority on the floor of the House,” Kumar says.

8.35 am: Celebrations begin outside Yeddyurappa’s house. BJP workers shout slogans of Vande Mataram and “Modi, Modi” outside Raj Bhavan, reports ANI.

8.25 am: Union ministers JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Prakash Javadekar to be present at Raj Bhavan for the oath-taking ceremony, reports ANI.

8.15 am: Security was deployed outside the BJP’s office in Bengaluru, reports ANI.

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