The Supreme Court on Monday said it will request Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to constitute a special bench by Tuesday to consider fresh material given by the Congress in connection with the resignation of Karnataka MLAs, PTI reported. The party said BJP was behind the resignation of Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) MLAs, which had brought down the majority of the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government.
A clip had surfaced online last week, in which Yediyurappa was heard telling party workers that BJP National President Amit Shah “supervised and made all arrangements” for Congress and JD(S) MLAs to resign from the Assembly in July, leading to the fall of the state government. Yediyurappa said that since the 17 MLAs who resigned had helped the BJP come to power in Karnataka, the party must stand by them.
The Congress has urged the court to take the audio clip and its transcript as evidence in the case.
‘False propaganda’: BS Yediyurappa
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday accused the Congress of “false propaganda” after the party announced protests against his purported “confession” of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s role in mass resignations of MLAs in the state in July.
The Congress said it would mention the matter before the Supreme Court on Monday.
On Sunday, Yediyurappa said the former MLAs had resigned for their own reasons and the BJP did not have anything to do with it. “‘What has to be done next, our party will decide, our national president will decide’ – this is what I said, nothing else,” Yediyurappa said about the audio clip. He claimed the Congress was unnecessarily distorting the matter to create confusion in the Supreme Court. He denied saying he would give tickets to the rebel MLAs.
Yediyurappa said what he had stated in the audio clip – that the rebel MLAs had stayed in a Mumbai hotel – was something the whole country was aware of. “[This] is being done for publicity,” he said. “I condemn this conduct of [Congress leader] Siddaramaiah.”
On Saturday, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee had submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind through Governor Vajubhai Vala, demanding the dismissal of the Karnataka government and of Shah from the Union Cabinet “in the interest of democracy”. Shah is the Union home minister.
Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao rejected Yediyurappa’s allegation and noted that he had agreed that the audio clip had his voice. “It is clear that this was an anti-constitutional move to pull down the government, violating the anti-defection law,” Rao said. “They are a party to it, it is very clear. So we will mention it in the Supreme Court tomorrow and bring it to the notice of the court and the people.”
The memorandum also states that Yediyurappa and Shah “engineered and forced” the defections of the MLAs. The party also enclosed a pen drive of a video of Yediyurappa at a BJP core committee meeting on October 27.
The HD Kumaraswamy-led Karnataka government collapsed in July following a trust vote in the Assembly, which the ruling coalition lost 99-105. The rebel MLAs, many of whom were holed up in a hotel in Mumbai, did not participate in the trust vote. Yediyurappa was sworn in as the chief minister a few days later.
Last month, the top court had reserved its judgement on a plea filed by the 17 rebel MLAs challenging their disqualification from the state Assembly after they resigned as legislators in July. The MLAs have urged the Supreme Court to allow them to contest the bye-elections.
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