Karnataka results: SC to hear Congress’ plea against pro-tem speaker at 10.30 am on Saturday
The Congress had earlier released an audio clip alleging that it was a recording of BJP MLA Janardhana Reddy trying to bribe one of its legislators.
The Supreme Court has ordered that Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa prove his majority on the floor of the House at 4 pm on Saturday. The court issued the directive on Friday morning while hearing the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular)’s plea against the Karnataka governor inviting the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government in the state.
In the Karnataka election results on May 15, the BJP won 104 seats. It is the single-largest party in the 224-member Assembly but failed to reach the majority mark. The Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) say they have the required numbers with 118 MLAs between them.
Before dawn on Thursday, the top court had said it would not stay BS Yeddyurappa’s oath taking ceremony, and had asked the attorney general for a letter in which the BJP leader had said he had the numbers to become chief minister. It had added that Yeddyurappa’s swearing in would be subject to the final outcome in court.
Yeddyurappa took oath at 9 am on Thursday. The Congress and its allies staged protests in parts of the country, and its President Rahul Gandhi called it the “defeat of democracy”.
10.03 pm: Supreme Court will hear Congress’ plea against the appointment of pro-tem speaker at 10.30 am on Saturday.
9.43 pm: JD(S) MLAs leave for Bengaluru from Hyderabad’s Novotel Hotel.
9.25 pm: Kumaraswamy says the JD(S) and Congress have jointly given a list of 118 MLAs to the governor. “We’ve sufficient strength to form the government in Karnataka. For past two days, BJP is trying to buy the MLAs of the opposition,” he adds.
9.16 pm: HD Kumaraswamy says two of his MLAs have been hijacked by the BJP. “But, I am certain that they will come back to us,” he adds.
9.02 pm: Congress lawyer Devdutt Kamat says the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) writ petition challenging the appointment of BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker has been filed in the top court, ANI reports. “The petition says that the appointment was completely unconstitutional,” he adds.
8.26 pm: The Congress has decided to move the Supreme Court against the governor naming Bopaiah the pro-tem speaker, Live Law reports.
8.12 pm: Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar claimed the audio CD was fake. “It is the handiwork of Congress’ dirty tricks department,” Javadekar said according to ANI.
7.50 pm: Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa claims the BJP has a majority of MLAs on its side, ANI reports. “We have the majority. More than what we expected. Our workers are really happy,” he says.
Asked if the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs were on his side, Yeddyurappa said, “Of course they are with us. If Congress and JD(S) MLAs don’t support us, how can we prove majority?”
7.13 pm: DMK Working President MK Stalin has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to ask the Yeddyurappa government to prove its majority on Saturday itself. He also called for the removal of Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala for his decision to invite the BJP to form the government.
7.01 pm: The Congress has released an audio in which BJP legislator Janaradhana Reddy is allegedly heard trying to bribe Congress’s Raichur (Rural) MLA Basanagouda Daddal, ANI reported.
6.20 pm: BJP MLAs will meet at Shangri-La Hotel in Bengaluru at 9 pm, ANI reports.
5.54 pm: Congress MLA Rajshekar Patil says 77 out of 78 MLAs are present at the hotel in Hyderabad. “We will be leaving for Bengaluru [for the floor test],” he says according to ANI. “We don’t have any meeting scheduled here. There is no pressure on us. Our government will be formed.”
5.43 pm: Asked if the Congress would approach the Supreme Court against the governor’s decision to appoint Bopaiah, Surjewala remained non-committal. “We will be able to inform you in a short while. Yes, the option of going back to the court is open,” he said.
5.28 pm: Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala says party MLA RV Deshpande should be the pro-tem speaker as he is the senior-most member of the legislature. He also accuses Bopaiah of having no regard for the Constitution and law.
Surjewala claimed Bopaiah had shown favouritism towards Yeddyurappa when he was the speaker in the past. He said the governor had once again “launched an encounter against the Constitution” by appointing Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker, ANI reported.
5.05 pm: Congress has decided to approach the Supreme Court to challenge the appointment of Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker, NDTV reports.
5 pm: Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah arrives in Hyderabad, where he will meet Congress MLAs at the Taj Krishna Hotel, ANI reports.
4.25 pm: Union minister Prakash Javadekar claims Bopaiah’s appointment is “as per rules and regulations”.
4.22 pm: KG Bopaiah takes oath as pro-tem speaker at the Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru. Bopaiah, known to be an ally of Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, was the Karnataka Assembly Speaker from 2009 to 2013.
3.57 pm: Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi accuses the governor of going against convention. Congress’ RV Deshpande, who is an eight-time MLA should have been appointed instead of Bopaiah, Singhvi says.
3.53 pm: By convention, the pro-tem speaker is someone who has served the most terms as an MLA. The pro-tem or temporary speaker will swear-in members and call for a floor test on Saturday.
3.50 pm: Governor Vajubhai Vala appoints BJP MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker.
3.43 pm: Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao claims BJP is offering “hundreds of crores” to colleagues. “Is this the morality that Modi talks about,” he asks in a tweet. “For power they are willing to sell their souls.”
3.29 pm: Now, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi addresses the media. He criticises the BJP’s actions in Karnataka. “Yeddyurappa wrote a letter to the governor and next morning 9.30 am, swearing-in happened,” he says. “He also did a Cabinet meeting with ‘himself’ and decided to transfer some officials, which has been stopped today.”
He adds: “For the first time, a question has been raised on the role of governor and which party can he invite according to the constitutional provisions.”
3.24 pm: The Supreme Court order has safeguarded democracy, says Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi.
3.22 pm: “Congress could not produce in Supreme Court any acknowledgement or proof of letter signed by their MLAs extending support to Congress-JD(S) alliance that was sent to the Governor of Karnataka,” claims Sambit Patra
3.08 pm: “This is the real face of Congress. They want to selectively read the Constitution of India,” says BJP’s Sambit Patra. “Congress’s selective approach won’t work. The Constitution cannot be altered to the whims of the Gandhis.”
3.05 pm: Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for the BJP in the Supreme Court, claims the verdict is a win for the ruling party. “It’s a win for BJP because court did not choose to set aside the order of governor,” he tells News18. “We were also saying that floor test is the only way to find out where the majority is. So, floor test has been ordered which is perfectly fine.”
2.59 pm: Newly-elected BJP members to meet at the party office on Friday evening in Bengaluru, reports ANI.
2.48 pm: He adds that the Congress’ reaction after the verdict earlier in the day regarding the floor test shows its double standards. “Those who tried to impeach CJI are now rejoicing,” he says.
Patra adds that he is happy the Congress is finally showing respect for the Supreme Court. “I hope a similar veneration is maintained in future too, and they don’t change their stand from judgement to judgement.”
2.42 pm: “The Congress is trying to undermine the mandate, this is why they went to the court in the middle of night,” says BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
2.21 pm: Congress leaders will leave from Hyderabad either on Friday night or Saturday morning, says Janata Dal (Secular) leader GT Devegowda.
2.12 pm: Former Manipur Chief Minister and Congress leader Okram Ibobi Singh says the governor has promised to look into the matter. Congress is the single largest party in the state, and Singh and other colleagues had approached the governor on Friday seeking to form the government.
1.45 pm: The Supreme Court in its order said the most senior leader of the Legislative House will be the pro-tem speaker for the floor test. Congress leader RV Deshpande, who is the senior most member in the House, says he has not received any intimation from the governor.
“I expect everyone will abide by the Supreme Court order,” he tells News18. “House proceedings should be followed with decency. A pro-tem speaker should be impartial.”
1.32 pm: Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad claims that party MLA Anand Singh has been abducted by the central government, reports News18.
1.21 pm: Meanwhile, in Goa, 13 Congress MLAs reach Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Mridula Sinha. The Congress on Thursday said it would stake claim to form the government in Goa as it has been the single-largest party in the Assembly since 2017 elections.
In Bihar, the Rashtriya Janata Dal made the same argument. The Bihar elections were held in 2015. On Friday, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav says the party has the support of many parties and will stake claim to form the government. “We are going to prove our majority to the Governor...Let’s see what happens,” he says.
1.05 pm: This is a historic decision taken by the Supreme Court, says former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, adding that the governor should not have shown favouritism. “Whatever Vajubhai Vala did, was clearly a violation of the Constitution,” Siddaramaiah tells reporters. “It proves the governor is working in collusion with the BJP. It is a deliberate, unconstitutional and undemocratic act by Vajubhai Vala.”
12.52 pm: The Supreme Court today proved that there is rule of law in this country, says Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. “I would like to thank judges of Supreme Court, who once again rose to the occasion and saved democracy,” Azad says.
The Congress leader says governors from Arunchal Pradesh, Manipur and Goa did not work according to the rule of law. “We were surprised that Karnataka governor invited the BJP to form a government with 104 seats,” he says. “Governor also gave 15 days, which was never given in the history.”
12.45 pm: BJP says it is confident of proving majority on Saturday. “We have the blessings of 6 crore Kannadigas who voted for change. Their aspirations and blessings will be respected and acknowledged,” BJP Karnataka says on Twitter.
12.35 pm: The Congress and JD(S) take affidavits from 116 MLAs which will be submitted in court and later sent to the president, reports News18.
12.28 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi hails the Supreme Court order, saying it had vindicated the party’s stand that the Karnataka governor had acted unconstitutionally. “The BJP’s bluff that it will form the government even without the numbers, has been called out by the court,” he says on Twitter. “Stopped legally, they will now try money and muscle, to steal the mandate.”
12.15 pm: Advocate Prashant Bhushan says the top court’s verdict will in some way restore the damaged credibility and moral authority of the Supreme Court. “Kudos to the Supreme Court for such prompt hearings and salutary order in Karnataka...All eyes on the Assembly tomorrow to see how many horses have been traded and have bolted the stable!” he tweets.
12.13 pm: BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa says the party is confident that it will prove majority on the floor of the House on Saturday. “We will discuss with chief secretary and call for an Assembly session tomorrow,” Yeddyurappa tells reporters.
12.03 pm: The Supreme Court said oath should be administered to all MLAs before the floor test on Saturday and BS Yeddyurappa cannot take any policy decisions until tomorrow, Singhvi says.
11.58 am: “The Supreme Court has delivered a historic verdict, many important directions have been given, one of them being that floor test has to be conducted at 4 pm tomorrow under a pro-tem speaker,” Abhishek Manu Singhvi tells reporters after the verdict.
11.56 am: The Supreme Court orders the Karnataka Police to ensure security of MLAs. It also turns down a request seeking a video recording of the floor test. The bench says pro-tem Speaker RV Deshpande will take decisions regarding the floor test according to the law.
11.53 am: BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje says the party welcomes the Supreme Court order and will prove majority on the floor of the House on Saturday.
11.50 am: Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala says, “Yeddyurappa does remain a one-day CM.”
11.48 am: “The Supreme Court has upheld constitutional morality and democracy,” says Congress leader Ashwani Kumar. “It is a judgement that should be celebrated. Faith of people in wisdom of Supreme Court is vindicated once again. It is set back for a party that wanted to usurp power.”
11.44 am: The Supreme Court asked Yeddyurappa not to make any major policy decision. “Anyway he will not have the time now for major policy decisions, he will be busy with other things,” Justice Sikri says.
Mukul Rohatgi gives an undertaking to the bench that Yeddyurappa won’t take any major policy decision until floor test, reports News18.
11.40 am: The Supreme Court orders floor test on Saturday at 4 pm. The top court also tells the governor not to nominate any Anglo-Indian community member as MLA till the floor test is over.
11.35 am: Attorney General KK Venugopal asks the top court if it would consider a secert ballot. However, the Supreme Court denies request.
11.31 am: Mukul Rohatgi tells the Supreme Court that a floor test cannot be held on Saturday. He asks for reasonable time. However, Justice Sikri says, “Sorry, can’t compromise on that.”
Rohatgi says according to the Sarkaria commission, 30 days should be granted before floor test. “What we have now is only 15 days, why reduce that also and order immediate floor test?” Rohatgi says, according to Bar and Bench.
11.25 am: The Supreme Court said it will ask the Karnataka Police to arrange security for floor test tomorrow.
11.13 am: Supreme Court asks why a floor test cannot be held on Saturday. Congress counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi says he agrees with the top court’s suggestion.
11.07 am: “There was no issue if there was a pre-poll alliance because voters could exercise choice wisely,” says Supreme Court. Justice Bobde says the best solution is to hold a floor test at the earliest and let the House decide, Live Law reports.
“Floor test should be conducted at the earliest,” Justice Sikri says.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Congress and the JD(S) combine, says, “The question is, is it fair to call those with lesser numbers?” Justice SA Bobde says the House will decide who will be called.
11.05 am: Mukul Rohatgi says, “We have certain information that many MLAs from other parties have not given any kind of written support to Congress-JD(S).” He adds that the BJP has support from some Congress and JD(S) MLAs. “I can’t disclose more now,” he says, according to Live Law.
11 am: When the Congress and JD(S) had provided a letter with proven majority, why did the governor invite Yeddyurappa to form the government, Justice AK Sikri asked. The Supreme Court asks on what basis the governor asks a party to provide a stable government, ANI reports. BJP’s lawyer Mukul Rohatgi submits that at this stage he does not want to say anything more.
“It is just a number game, one who enjoys the majority should be invited to form the government,” the bench says.
10.55 am: Mukul Rohatgi claims the Congress-JD(S) letter signed by the MLAs was never given to the Governor, reports News18.
10.51 am: Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the BJP, hands over letters that BS Yeddyurappa presented to Governor Vajubhai Vala. The letter does not mention the names of MLAs supporting the BJP leader.
“Mandate is for change. There is no requirement for us [Yeddyurappa] to declare names of those in these two [Congress and JDS] parties who support us,” Rohatgi tells Supreme Court, according to The Indian Express.
10.50 am: Supreme Court begins hearing on the Congress-JD(S) petition.
10.48 am: Congress MLA Anand Singh, who had been missing from Bengaluru resort, gives letter of support to Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, reports News18. Singhvi is appearing for the party in the Supreme Court today.
10.44 am: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says MLAs who were staying at the resort in Bengaluru received threats. “We wanted to take them to Kerala by air but permission was not granted,” Azad tells ANI. “Ultimately they had to travel by road. Is this democracy? No one trusts Constitution anymore, people have faith only in judiciary.”
10.40 am: Union minister Sadananda Gowda says the BJP has the required numbers to form the government. When asked about Congress MLAs being taken to Hyderabad, the minister says, “It is their right no? They can take them anywhere, even to Pakistan.”
10.35 am: Buses carrying JD(S) and Congress MLAs arrive at Taj Krishna Hotel in Hyderabad.
10.30 am: Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the BJP in the Supreme Court, says Yeddyurappa’s letter to the governor shows he has support. “There is no issue of horse-trading, it is the other way, as MLAs have been taken to resorts,” he says.
10.23 am: The Congress says it will observe “Save Democracy Day” across the country on Friday and will hold protests across state capitals. “The dangerous precedent strikes at the very heart of India’s democracy and portends grave consequences for all forthcoming election,” the party says.
The Congress said all state party presidents and senior leaders will lead a delegation to the governors of their states and hand over memorandums urging the president of India to safeguard democratic principles and sanctity of Constitution, The Indian Express reports.
10.06 am: Karnataka BJP MLA R Ashoka has moved the Supreme Court in an intervening application to become a party in the case. Ashoka said since he is a sitting MLA, he is equally interested in the result of the writ petition, Live Law reported.
9.55 am: Earlier on Friday, the Congress MLAs were shifted to Park Hyatt Hotel in Hyderabad. But, the hotel management later inform police officials that the legislators have been shifted to Taj Krishna Hotel, reports News18.
However, Congress leader DK Suresh tells ANI that the MLAs are expected to reach Park Hyatt in two hours. “They [MLAs] are coming here, we are arranging everything here,” he adds.
9.45 am: The Congress seeks an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind to protest against Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in as chief minister of Karnataka, The Indian Express reports.
9.30 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets that he spoke to Janata Dal (Secular) chief Deve Gowda and conveyed birthday wishes to him. “I pray for his good health and long life,” the prime minister says.
9.25 am: Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs are on their way to Hyderabad, News18 reports. They were set to fly to Kerala, but the Air Traffic Control in Bengaluru’s HAL Airport reportedly denied permission to fly.
“I am praying to God to find a solution of this,” Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda tells News18. “Politicians are taking a wrong path and we have to find the right path.”