Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Thursday criticised each other over the outcome of the hung Assembly in Karnataka and attempts by their outfits to stake claim to form the government. This came on a day Bharatiya Janata Party leader BS Yeddyurappa took oath as Karnataka chief minister.

The swearing-in was held hours after the Supreme Court refused a petition seeking to stay the ceremony. The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) had moved the Supreme Court registrar on Wednesday night after Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala invited the BJP to form the government. Vala has granted Yeddyurappa 15 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house. The Supreme Court said the matter would be taken up next on Friday morning.

Gandhi accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh of capturing the independent institutions of the country, The Times of India reported. “This morning, while the BJP celebrates its hollow victory, India will mourn the defeat of democracy,” Gandhi tweeted.

At a gathering in Raipur, the Congress president said: “The BJP is creating an atmosphere of fear. They do not want Dalits, backward classes and women to fulfill their dreams.”

Shah countered Gandhi’s allegations by tweeting: “The ‘Murder of Democracy’ happens the minute a desperate Congress made an ‘opportunist’ offer to the Janata Dal (Secular), not for Karnataka’s welfare but for their petty political gains. Shameful!”

The BJP president said his counterpart did not “remember the glorious history of his [Gandhi’s] party”. “The legacy of Rahul Gandhi’s party is the horrific Emergency, blatant misuse of Article 356, subverting the courts, media and civil society,” Shah tweeted.